Warning about unfixed fences at cross-country competitions

  • Unfixed portable fences are still being included in unaffiliated cross-country competitions, a year after the dangers were highlighted by H&H and eventing bodies.

    Last year H&H featured shocking pictures of a fall caused by an unfixed obstacle at Carousel Riding Club’s hunter trial at Burnham Market on 6 March 2011.

    British Riding Clubs (BRC) urged its members to check that all portable fences were pinned to the ground and British Eventing (BE) said the issue was “of paramount importance“.

    But on 31 March H&H reader Miranda Dick narrowly escaped serious injury when her horse caught a leg on an obstacle at Manderston Hunter Trials, run by South Lammermuir Riding Club, and took thefence with him.

    Miranda, of Gifford, East Lothian, told H&H: “I was doing the novice, hoping to get a nice confidence-giving run before our first BE event at Kirriemuir,”

    “[My horse] Magic, was on fine form as we came into fence 13, an easy fence. We were on a bit of a funny stride and he must have hit it.

    “I felt myself falling and the fence was going with me. I hit my head hard and heard a crack from my neck and I was in a pile on the floor.

    “The fence was in parts and had been dragged across the field with us.”

    Miranda and Magic sustained no serious injuries – but she feels she had a narrow escape.

    BRC head Sarah Philips said she was disappointed that some clubs still had not heeded the message.

    “It is very disappointing that this happened at a BRC-run hunter trial,” said Ms Philips. “I don’t know what we have to do to make clear the importance of fixing cross-country fences and how serious the consequences of not doing so can be.”

    And a spokesman for South Lammermuir Riding Club said: “It appears that the fence which caused the fall was not adequately secured, this unfortunately only became apparent after the accident.

    “We will make sure that courses we use in the future are more rigorously checked and this regrettable incident will certainly remind organisers of the importance of checking the course and ensuring that portables are correctly secured.”

    For the full version of this news story see the current issue of H&H (12 April 2012)

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