British Eventing (BE) has followed the FEI’s lead and decided to introduce the “one fall and out” rule for rider falls at cross-country fences.
From 1 August, riders will be eliminated as soon as they fall off across country at all national events, whereas until now competitors have not been eliminated until after a second rider fall.
The rule will not apply in the show jumping at national competitions, although it does at FEI events.
Mike Etherington-Smith, BE sport director, said: “The sport committee discussed this matter at considerable length at its recent meeting, weighing up all the implications, and although we all understand the frustration that will be felt in some quarters we have to recognise that this is primarily a safety issue. The decision was made with much reluctance.”
The announcement on the BE website adds: “The reason for the change is that of safety, resulting from difficulty in medical evaluation in the field. Mild concussion together with a subsequent lapse in judgment could result in serious injury to rider or horse. It is also a fact that once riders have had a fall they will not be in a competitive situation.”
Horse falls continue to result in immediate elimination.
On Wednesday Eventing Ireland revealed they too will be bringing in elimination for riders falling at a cross country obstacle at all Irish competitions.
Their rule will be applied from Calverstown on 29 June.