A new cross-country design advisory group has been launched by the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) in response to this year’s exceptional number of eventing tragedies. Eleven riders have died since January this year.

The most recent loss was 21-year-old Eleanor Brennan, who died after a fall at the Florida International three-day event earlier this month.

The group, which will be chaired by course-designer Mark Phillips, will be an offshoot of the eventing safety sub-committee set up earlier this year as part of the FEI’s eventing safety programme.

An FEI spokesman said: “The group’s objective is to provide research on safe course-design and frangible devices, as well as cross-country fence building directives.”

An FEI Eventing Safety Forum is planned for 19 January in Copenhagen, Denmark, to discuss safety across the sport.

National bodies from all eventing nations, including the British Equestrian Federation (BEF), will be invited to attend and make presentations on safety, along with course-designers, trainers, riders, officials, equipment manufacturers and vets.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (22 November, ’07)