Enhanced medical and social media policies are among rule changes announced by British Eventing (BE) for 2020.
BE recommends event doctors have an up-to-date certificate in a recognised trauma course, and a paramedic is in attendance at events 30 minutes before the start of the dressage – both of which will be mandatory from 2021.
BE chief executive Jude Matthews told H&H there is always a “difficult balance” between best practice and minimising risk, and ensuring costs are kept viable for organisers to provide the appropriate level of medical cover at events.“This is why some of the changes this year are encouraged, but not mandatory – because there will be the associated costs to organisers in some cases,” she said.
“For some organisers, there will be no requirement for change – we know a lot have medical cover on site in compliance with the new rules anyway.”
Ms Matthews added the findings of the Australian inquest into the deaths of young eventers Olivia Inglis and Caitlyn Fischer in 2016, had been considered when rule changes were discussed.
“Ultimately it’s best practice in risk management to look at all information available and apply that to your situation to identify the gaps,” she said.
Medical Equestrian Association (MEA) chairman Meg Hardman told H&H the association, which is rolling out free, equestrian-specific training for event doctors, is very pleased about the updated medical rules.
“This brings eventing more in line with the governance in place within racing under Rules and point-to-pointing. The changes set out clearer guidance for what is expected of doctors with regard to qualifications, equipment and drugs,” she said.
“The rule changes, along with training support from the MEA, should mean medical personnel at events are equipped to produce the best possible outcome even for the worst falls, working in well trained and cohesive teams.”
Social media policy
Other rule changes include the re-written social media policy, which states that members must not post threatening, derogatory or defamatory statements about BE, its members or organisers, or statements that could directly or indirectly damage the name or reputation of BE.
Rider Grace Moran told H&H that while she agrees there should be a policy and “personal attacks” should not happen, she feels BE could be “shutting down” feedback and members will not be heard.
“Some social media debates are healthy for the sport and this new rule is going to cut down on that. The sport should be open to being criticised so we can make it as good as it can be,” she said.
But Ms Matthews said the policy had been re-written with the intent of making it clearer, but not stricter.
“We do not feel there are any additional restrictions on what members are able to post or say as a result of the change. The majority comply without even having to consider the rules, but there are some who feel they can post inappropriately,” she said.
“We are absolutely not trying to ‘shut down’ negative feedback, but ask that members who have concerns or criticism think about the most appropriate way of relaying this back to the relevant party. Feedback given appropriately – good or constructive – is always welcome, and helps us develop and grow the sport we love.”
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