British Eventing has unveiled its latest weapon in the battle to avoid rider fatalities

British Eventing unveiled the finished version of the frangible cross-country fence pin at Uttoxeter racecourse last month.

Designed with the help of the Transport Research Laboratory, the new pin drops the top pole at least 20cm if the fence is hit from above, which research confirms happens every time a horse somersaults on hitting afixed fence.

This collapsible pin will not stop a fall, but the 20cm drop is designed to give the horse time to get a leg out and prevent the rotation associated with all the fatalities.

The safety features built into the pin take into account various factors including ground conditions and the weight of the horse. A limit on the length, weight and diameter of poles has been set and the device is designed to be as easy to insert into existing fences as new ones.

Initially, thepin will be trialled at designated events, including Weston Park, Floors Castle, Northampton and Tweseldown during the spring season.

There is also a strong possibility that Badminton will be included in the trial, with more events to be added later. Depending on results of the trial, the fence pin could be introduced across the board in 2003.

  • Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (7 February), or click here to subscribe and enjoy receiving all the latest equestrian news delivered to your door.
  • Click here to read the intial results of research into collapsible cross-country fences.
  • Click here to read about Liverpool University’s research into the risk factors associated with falls at horse trials and three-day events.