The new frangible fences, which are designed to prevent rider fatalities, will be tested at Badminton

British Eventing’s new frangible fence pin will be tested at nine events of varying levels this spring, including eventing’s showcase, the Mitsubishi Motors Badminton Horse Trials in May.

The new fence, invented by engineers, has breakable metal pins inserted between the top pole and the uprights supporting it.

The pin works by dropping the jump’s top pole by at least 20cm if the fence is hit from above, which research confirms happens when a horse somersaults after hitting a fixed fence.

The collapsible pin will not prevent a fall, but the 20cm drop is designed to allow the horse to get a leg out and prevent the rotation associated with event rider fatalities in recent years.

In addition to Badminton, the collapsible pin will also be tested at:

  • Weston Park
  • Tweseldown (2)
  • Central Scotland
  • Rodbaston
  • Floors Castle
  • Northampton
  • Hartpury
  • Longleat

The success of the pin will be reviewed at the start of June with further testing expected to take place at selected events.

At the end ofthe season there will be a full analysis of all falls and fence data, which will be gathered from course-designers and technical advisors. A decision will then be taken as to how and to what extent the system will be incorporated into the sport in2003.

If a horse breaks a pin, the rider will be awarded 70 penalties on the scoreboard for British Eventing’s records, but will be compulsorily retired from that event.

These initiatives form part of an ongoing process, which strives toimprove safety while ensuring that the structure and integrity of the sport is maintained.

  • Read the full story in the April issue of Eventing magazine, or click here to subscribe.

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