Summit results in action to improve safety in eventing

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A summit on safety in the sport of eventing—a three-day equestrian competition of dressage, cross-country jumping, and show jumping—resulted in a list of action items for the United States Equestrian Federation and United States Eventing Association.

The USEF/USEA Safety Summit, June 7-8 in Lexington, Ky., focused on reducing the number of horse falls in eventing. Though rare, falls can result in the injury or death of horse or rider. Rider responsibility was a major theme during the summit.

Summit attendees discussed the topics of course design, veterinary and human medical issues, education, and horse and rider qualifications. Among the key action items:

  • The USEF will subsidize the cost of frangible pins, which allow jumps to break apart on impact.
  • The USEA is organizing seminars to certify more course builders in the installation of frangible pins.
  • The USEF will track more details about the kind of jumps that cause falls.
  • The USEA will assume the full cost of necropsies on horses that suffer fatal injuries during USEA-recognized competitions.
  • The USEA has dedicated itself to the certification of 500 eventing instructors by 2010 through its Instructors' Certification Program.

Another safety measure is instituting a watch list to put riders on notice that they are riding dangerously. Summit attendees also discussed the need for more research on deformable jump construction, equine cardiopulmonary function, and the speed of cross-country courses.

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