A change to the number of penalties awarded for breaking a frangible pin is expected following a protest by the International Event Riders Association (ERA).

In the FEI’s 2015 eventing rule clarifications, it states that 21 penalties will be given automatically to any competitor breaking a frangible obstacle or device unless “clear mechanical failure has produced an unexpected activation of the mechanism”.

ERA argue that it is wrong to “penalise safety” and as a result a meeting was called by the FEI in London earlier this month (10 March).

The meeting was attended by a select group of event riders as well as other influential industry players — including British Eventing chef d’equipe Yogi Breisner, course-designer and Olympic rider Ian Stark and trainer and course-designer Eric Winter.

The outcome has not been announced, but ERA president Bruce Haskell said he was “pleased”.

“There was common agreement that the old rule didn’t work and that the new rule wasn’t going to work,” he said.

“What I hope we are going to see is a reduced number of penalties so it will be less influential and won’t affect a rider’s Olympic qualification.

“We also want the FEI to change the phrase ‘clear mechanical failure’ as it only serves to confuse the situation.”

The FEI will now discuss the suggestions made and a decision is hoped for by the end of this month.

“I feel as a group we have demonstrated that, even if we don’t agree, we can always work with the other stake holders to bring the sport forwards,” added Bruce.

For Mark Todd’s views see his comment in 26 March issue of H&H, or read online here.