Equestrian Australia (EA) has introduced a new eventing rule making the use of frangible devices on cross-country fences compulsory.

The rule will come into play in February next year. From then on, frangible devices are mandatory on fences in one- to four-star courses in Australia “where the materials fit the specifications for use of a frangible device”.

The rule will apply to national and FEI events across the country.

“This important change has been made following a series of meetings at the Australian International 3 Day Event in Adelaide involving the EA eventing committee, the EA national safety officer, members of the FEI risk management steering group and the EA chair, Judy Fasher,” said an EA spokesman.

“The initiative to introduce frangible pins was originally implemented with financial support from the Equestrian Australia Making Eventing Safer Fund, supported by Terry Snow, and the Olivia Inglis Foundation.

“This new rule about the mandatory use of frangible devices will further continue the important work already carried out in promoting the safety of both horses and riders.

“The implementation of this rule change is supported by an explanatory memorandum for officials and organising committees with an officials’ education programme to be rolled out in February and March 2018.”

The news comes after the FEI confirmed it will not be enforcing a global rule for mandatory frangibles until more evidence is available.

“While rotational horse falls have decreased dramatically, there is evidence — as highlighted in the Barnett report [which examined data from cross-country horse falls at FEI events from 2010 to 2014] — that the number of horse falls in general is higher at fences fitted with frangible technology,” said an FEI spokesman.

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“Although clearly it could be the question rather than the frangible technology that is causing these falls, more information and data is needed to understand this horse fall rate.

“We need to have a better understanding of this evidence, and where it fits into the overall picture, before we can consider making the use of frangible technology mandatory.”

For more information and reaction to the FEI’s decision, don’t miss this week’s H&H magazine, out Thursday 14 December.