New Strides In Eventing Safety

Paul Tapner. Image credit Mike Bain
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New Strides in Eventing Safety

New research, incorporating advanced simulations, is set to boost eventing safety and reduce the risk of rotational falls.

The research is being carried out by the University of Kentucky, in collaboration with the United States Eventing Association (USEA). Their common goal was to develop simulations of rotational falls, in order to create new insights surrounding cause and prevention.

The study developed simulations looking at a variety of situations the event horse and rider may encounter. In the simulated situations, the researchers observed results regarding current safety devices and the physical characteristics of rotational falls. The results may aid advancement in safety device design, for greater effect.

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Previous studies have started research into this area. However, the previous research has only utilised one or very few horses per project, therefore the study cannot be applied to the wider equine-population. This new study has represented a range of horse size and jump dynamics. 

The study provided results that showed how much force would need to be applied to safety devices for them to be activated. The study also highlighted how quickly safety devices come into effect.


Results showed that 34.6% of scenarios, where there was fore-leg contact with a jump, were occasions associated with rotational falls. 1.2% of fore-leg contact scenarios were ‘irrecoverable’.

Shannon Wood, one of the researchers behind the project, explained that the new developments was successful in “establishing requirements for requirements for safety device design” and would mean “more options would be available to builders and course designers.”

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Wood further explained;

There were also specific value recommendations from this study that engineers can use when thinking about designs. Overall, we feel there’s no one-size-fits-all safety solution that works for every fence, every time, at every speed.”

“Course and safety device designers will have to think about the questions and maybe categorise them down to, ‘this device goes with this question,’ there’ll be many conversations with course designers as this evolves, but now, we have a great tool that can be used and looked at.”

The next steps, with the new information, is creating an accessible, easy to read format for use in courses and safety device development. Researchers also want to continue to meet with course and safety device designers, to assess the results of newly developed features based on this study.

Image credit Mike Bain Photography


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Journalist and News Reporter, Everything Horse Reporting on equestrian news stories, Abby also produces a variety of engaging content for the magazine. Email: LinkedIn:

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