Riders who fall while taking part in British Eventing (BE) competitions will be eliminated in most cases under a tightening-up of the organisation’s safety rules.

From this season, any rider who falls during the dressage or having passed through the start in the showjumping or cross-country phases will not allowed to continue.

BE implemented the rule after “continued monitoring” of concussion research, and head injury assessment guidelines, and consultation with BE’s medical officers, officials and event organisers.

The change also took into account feedback from stakeholders, and is on the advice of BE chief medical officer Judith Johnson.

“Post-fall assessment of riders may require a thorough physical, mental competence and neurological assessment,” Ms Johnson said.

“This is a time-consuming process, and may need to be repeated after a period of time in order to make a clinical decision whether that rider is fit to compete again that day.

“We have a duty of care to our members which, in the light of recent guidelines on concussion management, has led to this rule change.”

H&H reported on BE’s rule changes for 2018 late last year, which originally said that if a rider falls during the showjumping, the bell will be rung and the clock stopped while they remount and the jump is rebuilt. It added that six seconds will be added to the competitor’s time and the 45-second rule (elimination for failing to jump the next obstacle within 45 seconds) will not apply.

The rule also stated that riders falling on the cross-country course must be checked by a paramedic or doctor before they may remount and continue.

But BE national safety officer Jonathan Clissold said: “Whilst every effort has been made to enable a rider to continue after a fall in a safe manner, BE and event organisers have worked incredibly hard to provide standards of safety and medical provision for all BE events that are as high as possible and this rule change is essential to ensure that rider safety is maintained.

“The new rule will also bring BE in line with FEI rules regarding the fall of a competitor which have been imposed by them since 2008.”

The rule is also in line with British Showjumping competitions, in which any rider who falls is eliminated.

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Key points:

Riders who fall during their dressage test or anywhere on course in the showjumping or cross-country phases will be eliminated and unable to continue.

Riders who fall in the warm-up of any phase or before passing through the start of the showjumping or cross-country must be checked by a doctor before continuing.

Multiple-horse riders who fall off must undergo a fit to ride assessment carried out by the event doctor before being allowed to ride subsequent horses.

A competitor who falls at any stage of the competition must be checked by the event doctor before continuing or leaving site. It is the responsibility of the competitor to ensure compliance with these rules.

A copy of the updated rule changes will be published on the BE website in the near future.

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