British Eventing has announced that all cross-country fences must be built using frangible pins by 2006 following successful trials at 13 BE events and 14 FEI events, including Badminton, Burghley and WEG in 2002.

The frangible fence system has been hailed as a breakthrough in fence design, reducing the risk of a rider being crushed in a rotating or somersault fall. Twice during the trials — at Weston Park and Boekelo — pins broke and serious injury to horse and rider was avoided.

All new fences built after 1 March this year must have the pins installed, with all fences on intermediate and advanced tracks fulfilling the new design by the beginning of the 2005 season. The pins must be installed on all fences at every level before the start of the 2006 season.

“Intermediate and advanced fences are our priority, as statistics show there is a higher chance of a horse fall at these levels,” says BE’s sport and technical manager, Tim Hadaway.

Tim says the response from event organisers to the new system has been good, despite the pins costing around £30 per pair.

“The issue of cost is at the forefront of our minds, and this is why I have developed a slow roll-out plan. At present, the pins need only be used on certain fences, and organisers can use portable fences to avoid costs if necessary.

“People have seen the merit in the system and have given good support to getting it into the field, reducing the risk of a rotational fall.”