Compulsory frangibles and more flag rule changes proposed

Frangible devices will become compulsory on certain types of cross-country fences at top level eventing from next year, if the proposal is approved by national federations.

The first draft of the 2020 FEI rule proposals were released yesterday (8 July) and include more changes to the flag rule, as well as those on water jumps, dangerous riding and abuse among others.

The FEI eventing committee has approved the eventing risk management steering group’s recommendation that frangible devices in CCI4*, CCI5* and championships be made compulsory on certain fence types from 2020 with the aim that this is extended to all levels from 2021.

The devices must be on the FEI-approved list and from next year must be fitted to all open oxers, verticals or near-verticals with open rails, top rails on triple bars and gates where the rail dimensions and weight fit the relevant parametres for frangible devices.

It is also proposed to change the 11-penalty rule for breaking a pin — this now states that the penalties will be awarded “where the dimension of the fence is modified”.

The flag rule, which has been a big talking point in recent years, has been reworked. But the FEI also states that its eventing committee is taking into account different suggesting wordings and will review the “overall concept for the reason of the rule” as well as taking into account a 2019 season evaluation.

The first draft proposal is as follows:
FEI flag rule first draft proposal 2020

The FEI is separating its “recorded warning” sanctions from its yellow card system (Horse & Hound news, 2 May). The recorded warnings would be eventing-specific and yellow cards would apply in all disciplines.

All cases of dangerous riding will come under recorded warnings and can be penalised with 25 penalties and/or elimination. Recorded warnings will also be given for: continuing after three refusals, being eliminated before the XC due to concerns over lack of control, not seeing a vet or doctor after a fall, leaving the event without seeing the vet if the competitor was eliminated, retired or stopped on course, minor cases of blood and for pressing a tired horse.

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Three recorded warnings within two years would result in a two-month suspension, with a start date set by the FEI. Two yellow cards for the same offence within 12 months will also result in a two-month suspension.

Any action that constitutes abuse of horse will result in a yellow warning card and — on a case-by-case basis — can result in elimination, disqualification and/or a fine.

Other cross-country rule proposals include tweaks to where fences are placed before a drop into water and after a step out of water, plus a ban on bitless bridles for cross-country.

These proposals will now be discussed by national fedarations and stakeholders before a second draft is released. These will then be voted on at the FEI General Assembly in Moscow in November.

Click here to read the full set of eventing proposals

For more on the proposals, don’t miss next week’s issue of Horse & Hound — out Thursday, 18 July.