A table fence designed to collapse to prevent serious horse falls has been trialled in Britain for the first time.
The MIM clip table has been used in competitions abroad, but was jumped for the first time at a British event at Belton last week (29 to 31 March).
Three varying sizes of the jump, which came at fence five (or fence 5a) were used across the novice, intermediate, CCI3*-S, advanced and CCI4*-S sections (previously CIC2* and CIC3*).
“I had to get permission from British Eventing to use them,” course designer and organiser Stuart Buntine told H&H.
“I am just so pro us testing and trying and finding solutions to potential issues. They are not going to solve every issue and as we know devices go at certain times and don’t go at others, nothing is going to [activate] every time.
“I just wanted to get them out there and try them.”
Video below shows the table in action at a German event
The fence is designed to collapse on impact when hit by a horse, with the aim of reducing the risk of serious and rotational falls.
The table jumped well and was not activated, although the 5b corner element of the following fence proved highly influential in terms of run-outs in the top classes.
Stuart added the great thing about using this type of fence at an event such as Belton, which has hundreds of runners across different levels, is that it has now been jumped close to 850 times in just three days.
“We’ve just got to work with new technologies, I’m a great believer in that,” he said.
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Stuart referred to the frangible wishing well-style fence at the water complex at Oasby, which was activated dozens of times and eventually removed, as an example of trial and error.
“We just need to be out there trialling and testing,” he said, adding he will use the MIM clip tables again, including at Osberton.
“Unless we try things, we don’t know what’s going to work and what isn’t going to work and anything we can do to make [eventing] safer to me we have to look at doing, while staying within the integrity of the sport.”
Don’t miss this week’s issue of Horse & Hound magazine, on sale Thursday (4 April), for the full report from Belton