A former cross-country course-designer has announced his intention to run an independent international cross-country safety conference.

David Morton — who was a designer and builder in the UK from 1975-1985, but who now lives in Ireland — is organising the conference at Tattersalls, Ireland, on 25 February 2016. He hopes to raise E25,000 (£18,000) via crowdfunding to complete the project and aims to have 200 people attend.

“The objective is to increase the safety of horse and rider when they are going across country,” said David. “Nobody can resolve the whole issue in one day, but if we can do a little bit, it will help.

“There are issues with frangible devices being correctly installed and used in the right place, and we want to ensure best practice among course-designers and builders. It’s important riders understand what is safe and not safe. We also want to establish a website up-and-coming designers and builders can learn from.”

The morning of the conference will be dedicated to preparation of horse and rider, while the afternoon will focus on the use of the equipment such as frangible pins and MIM Clips.

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Speakers include course-designers Mark Phillips and Mike Etherington-Smith, racehorse trainer and former eventer Jessica Harrington, rider Andrew Nicholson and course-builder James Willis, as well as Sweden’s Johan Davidsson, who has been involved in testing MIM Clips.

The conference is open to all and costs E50 (£36) to attend. While Tattersalls is providing the venue for free, David is raising money to cover administration costs, as well as travel bursaries for the speakers and attendees. The event will happen only if he raises E25,000 by 16 November.

“I’m getting a lot of good feedback, we’ve just got to get people to put their hands in their pockets,” he said. “I don’t believe there’s ever been an independent conference about fence safety open to the public and press.”

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