A group of eventing officials is proposing the FEI creates a “safety fund” financed by a levy on entries at events.
The International Eventing Officials Club, which is chaired by Andy Griffiths, is asking the FEI to consider the proposal at the meeting of its eventing committee this month.
The money raised would be used for “the development of safety ideas, education, and a free supply of safety devices to be made available to all FEI events,” says Mr Griffiths in a letter to the FEI dated 12 June.
“Funding would come from a rider or starter levy of say €5 to €15, collected and paid to the FEI into the safety fund.”
The letter adds: “Every FEI event could then submit their requirements to the FEI eventing department for approval. The FEI would agree a cost and open an account with current suppliers, ie BE [British Eventing] and MIM who could send devices direct to an event and invoice the FEI.”
Mr Griffiths told H&H: “We are looking to reduce the risk of rotational falls. The profile of a fence could reduce that risk.”
He suggests that the proposed fund could also be used to educate course-builders and designers worldwide, as well as fund new advances in technology.
“Not all countries know about how, where and when to use deformable technology, and the FEI needs to step forward,” he added.
“There is a big feeling round the world that cost should not come into safety. Money needs to be put into research and education – as other sports do all the time. It is important that the FEI takes the lead.”
But there is opposition to riders and owners having to shoulder ever-increasing costs.
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Bruce Haskell, president of the Eventing Riders Association, said: “The two primary things that ERA is focusing on [to improve safety] are body protectors and hats, and working with the FEI to up the standards on them.
“We would welcome any safety initiative, but are extremely concerned about the knock-on effect to riders, which is currently making FEI entries more and more expensive and at lower levels could potentially push competitors into unregulated, cheaper forms of eventing.
“In the light of the IEOC’s letter to the FEI [proposing the safety fund], we will have an ERA committee meeting and discuss it.”