The FEI Eventing Risk Management Action Plan, which was launched in January 2010, is on target, as shown by the steady decrease in the percentage of Cross-Country falls.
National Safety Officers (NSOs) from 22 nations who attended the FEI’s annual NSO seminar in Greenwich, London (GBR) on 29-30 January were shown provisional statistics for 2010 which demonstrate that as numbers of international events and participants increase, the incidence of falls continues to decrease.
Since 2005, the rate has dropped steadily from one Cross-Country fall per 17 starters to one in 19 in 2009-10. In 2009, there were 778 falls from 14,206 starters (an incidence of 5.48%); in 2010, this figure was 767 from 15,518 (4.94%). The number of international events has grown from 318 in 2004 to 479 in 2010.
“The statistics show that our vision for the Risk Management Action Plan was correct and that the systems we have put in place are moving in the right direction”, commented Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITA), Chair of the FEI Eventing Committee. “It also shows the steady pace at which the sport is increasing worldwide and the fact that officials and competitors are working well together.
“Of course, we are happy to have a growing Eventing community, but we must make sure that these competitors who are coming into the sport and progressing up it are properly prepared for each level. Our priority is always to ensure competitors do not face any unnecessary risk in what inevitably will remain a risk sport.
“The number of falls at 1* level, and the proportion of horse falls (240 in 2010), is still of concern, as is the consistency of national methods of record-keeping, and we are continually striving to find ways of educating officials and riders, and standardising data collection throughout the world.”
Topics for discussion by NSOs at the meeting included the implementation of new rules, simplifying requirements for medical cards and national qualifying procedures for CCI1*s. The major aim for this year is to produce a DVD to help everyone involved in the sport (riders, owners, organising committees, National Federations and officials) share a common vision of Cross-Country riding in line with the FEI Eventing Risk Management Policy.
Christina Klingspor, representing the Swedish Federation, commented: “This weekend has been really inspiring. It allows us to re-evaluate the progress we are making and we can now go back to our country with new ideas.”
Peter Gray, Canada’s NSO, said: “Much of our Federation’s work in Canada revolves around what I can take back from these annual meetings. They are really helpful, as everyone brings a different skill and viewpoint, and we have been able to make great strides in improving the structure of our sport.”
Eventing constitutes an exciting and challenging all-round test of riding ability and horsemanship within an accepted and acceptable level of risk.
Every effort must be made to ensure that, at each level, responsible athletes are participating with progressively trained horses in order not to be exposed to a higher risk than what is strictly inherent to the nature of the competition.
A number of new FEI rules were put in place in 2010 to aid risk management, including penalties for dangerous riding and the breaking of a frangible obstacle or device. The rules for dangerous riding and abuse of the horse have been separated for increased clarity. For Eventing Rule Changes for 2010, visit www.fei.org
For the 2009 FEI Eventing Statistics Report , visit www.fei.org. The complete 2010 statistics will be published next month after they have been validated.