British Eventing (BE) has told H&H it has “no plans” to implement penalties for breaking frangible pins, despite the FEI strengthening its stance.
In the FEI’s 2015 eventing rule clarifications it states that 21 penalties will be given automatically to any competitor breaking a frangible obstacle or device unless “clear mechanical failure has produced an unexpected activation of the mechanism”.
“The need to clarify this rule has been raised by athletes and officials to ensure its consistent interpretation and application,” an FEI spokesman explained.
“The clarification ensures that 21 penalties will be given automatically should a device be activated. However, the rule also allows officials the possibility to remove these penalties in cases of a clear failure of the device.”
The new ruling has been met with concern from the eventing community.
Ian Stark believes that 25 penalties for bad or dangerous riding should be used when necessary, rather than automatically penalising a pin break.
“It is a step backwards and a cop-out,” he added. “We are trying to make the sport safer and yet we are punishing people for a device that is making it safer.”
BE has confirmed to H&H that is has no intention of following the FEI’s ruling.
“We do not give any penalties for breaking frangible pins and nor are there any plans to,” said a spokesman.
BE has now also established a standard that all frangible and deformable fences need to meet if they are to be used on its cross-country courses.
The new standard means that the MIM clip — which is popular in America — could start to be used at British events.
“The deformable fence standard has been sent to the team at MIM so that they are able to test the MIM Clip,” said a spokesman for BE.
“Once this device has passed the BE standard, and the results ratified, BE will be in a position to welcome the addition of the MIM Clip as a safety device that can be used in this country.”
Ref: H&H 25 February, 2015