PENALTIES for breaking a frangible pin and elimination for falls on the flat were among proposed eventing rule changes discussed at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) bureau meeting this week (31 March-1 April).

Since January 2009, riders have been eliminated for breaking a frangible pin but, if this amendment is approved, from 15 April competitors will get 25 penalties instead.

But British Eventing (BE) chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith said: “We’re completely against 25 penalties for breaking a pin, as we were elimination. You cannot penalise people for something they can’t control — we have data to support the fact that pins weaken.”

BE research, presented at the FEI safety conference at Hartpury College, showed pins are weakened by successive hits (news, 29 January).

BE has sent comments to the FEI on the changes.

H&H columnist Mark Phillips wrote recently: “To penalise for [breaking a pin weakened by a previous competitor] would be blatantly unfair… I hope not too many people lose their qualifications by breaking a pin, and pray no one unfairly loses their chance of a big prize.”

An FEI spokesman said: “These changes are only a proposal which will be submitted to the bureau for them to review.

“We are considering significant feedback from the national federations.”

Read this news story in full, including response to proposals to extend the one-fall-and-you’re-out rule and changes to qualifying rules at 4-star level, in the current issue of Horse & Hound (2 April, ’09)