Eventing 'getting safer'

Eventing in the UK is not only increasing in popularity as more riders take up the reins of the ultimate equestrian triathlon of Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country, but getting safer thanks to rigorous safety improvements.

Eventing in the UK is not only increasing in popularity as more riders take up the reins of the ultimate equestrian triathlon of Dressage, Show Jumping and Cross Country, but thanks to rigorous safety improvements incorporated following non-stop research and data analysis, competitors are at far less risk from injury.

Figures released from British Eventing this week show that the percentage risk of serious injury is reduced to just 0.07%; considerably lower than in many other activities such as motorsports, cycling and fishing.

"In total, from July 2002 to June 2008, a staggering 6.3 million cross country fences have been jumped by 316,217 riders on British Eventing affiliated courses throughout the UK," explains BE's National Safety Officer, Jonathan Clissold.

"But there have been 406 serious falls; including, tragically, four fatal falls, many from the horse falling on top of the rider."

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In its quest to stamp out serious injuries, British Eventing started collecting and analysing data from all its courses back in 2002, looking at how horses jumped each type of fence, to see if any patterns emerged. Fence-types were profiled and catalogued and Technical Advisers* started logging individual fence data.

In 2002, over 44,960 riders and horses left the Cross Country start box at 133 events and 108 falls were classed as serious.

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"Compared to the current safety year*, there has been a 43% increase in Cross Country starters to over 64,400 as more and more riders take up Eventing," says Mr Clissold. "Following demand, BE added a further 33% (180) more competitions to the Event Fixture List.

"The success story here is that the total number of serious injuries in affiliated classes has fallen to less than half that of 2002, with just 48 serious falls in a year when there was a huge 43% increase in participants."

British Eventing Chief Executive and Beijing Olympic course designer, Mike Etherington-Smith says: "We are proud of what British Eventing has achieved in the sport so far, but we want to take our research and development even further."

"We will continue to strive to a position of fewer injuries whilst still maintaining the integrity of the sport that competitors enjoy so much. To this end we have invested more time, money and resources into the areas addressed in our Safety Manifesto, Changing Tracks, and are fully committed to it for the foreseeable future."

BE Safety Roadshows

Southern Region - Thursday 30th July

Wiltshire College Lackham, Lacock, WIltshire, SN15 2NY.

The Roadshows are open to both members and non-members. To book your free place, please call Carolyn Simm at British Eventing on 02476 698821 or e-mail carolyn.simm@britisheventing.com

Editors notes:

British Eventing (BE) is the governing body for Horse Trials in Great Britain and regulates the sport as well as scheduling over 190 events throughout the country. Eventing is a combination of equestrian disciplines including dressage, cross country and show jumping.

BE has over 12,500 members including day ticket holders, with classes for all abilities of rider, from 80cm (Training Classes) through to 1.20m (Advanced). It has successful gold-medal winning teams at Pony, Junior, Young Rider and Senior Level. Its Olympic team won Bronze at the 2008 Beijing Games, as well as Individual Bronze

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