British Eventing (BE) has launched a new innovation prize in order to help improve safety for horses and riders in the sport.

The competition is open to anyone — riders, supporters and the general public — to explore ways to help reduce the risk in eventing.

The issue of safety is an ongoing concern and has been thrust into the spotlight once again following the deaths of two riders in recent months.

In February Francisco Seabra was killed in a fall in Spain, while earlier this month Italian rider Sabrina Manganaro died after a fall during a national event (news, 16 April).

BE is now spearheading research into safety development and research in the cross-country phase of the sport, with the launch of the inaugural BE safety innovation prize — worth £25,000 to the winner.

“BE sees the safety and welfare of horse and rider as the number one priority, and has led in the area of risk management for many years,” said BE chief executive Mike Etherington-Smith.

“We are all committed to finding additional ways of minimising risk and we hope that this will spark a lot of interest inside and outside the sport, and be the catalyst for some new ideas.”

As part of its 2014–2016 risk management strategy, BE set the aim of “continually and actively investigating” new safety mechanisms, and support and funding for potential and existing research.

The organisation is looking at safety involving cross-country fences, and how it can be improved — this could be by any means, including but not limited to, new types of frangible devices.

“If a new device can meet the BE standard document, then it would potentially be able to be used,” a spokesman told H&H.

“Over the past year there have been several occasions on which questions have been asked of the sport, including national federations/FEI, about what is being done to make the sport safer. This is a way in which everyone can get involved to consider the opportunities collectively.”

The full terms and conditions will be announced on 1 June.

Ref: Horse & Hound; 23 April 2015

  • Debby Jones

    My daughter has just done her EPQ on this, what a coincidence!