The future of Eventing as an international sport relies on improvements in safety. Principle improvements rely on increasing safety on Cross Country and decreasing the risk of “rotational falls” for both Horse and Rider.
The frangible pin has been around for quite a few years now. The pin only works in some quite specific parameters and relies on downward force to “break” the pin and prevent a fall. In the right circumstances this is a highly appropriate method for reducing rotational falls. I have seen them work and it is very impressive.
There is some work recently that suggests the pin may work in more circumstances if the pin and rail are installed on the back of the fence rather than the face as is traditional. Data will prove whether this will work and until then we will have to experiment and see.
Two other methods of creating a Frangible fence have arisen in the last two years or so. The first is a polystyrene log Prolog® ie frangible log and it is being marketed and developed in the USA by Mike Winters and Kyle Carter with their company Safer Building Materials, I was lucky enough to witness these in use at the Red Hills Horse Trials.
The latest system on the market promises much, The NewEra System has been designed and developed by engineers Mats Björnetun and Anders Flogård of MIM Construction Frändefors Sweden. Both having equestrian backgrounds.
The MIMSafe NewEra System is very exciting as it is very versatile, it can be used in a wide variety of fence configurations and promises to be low cost. I was lucky enough to see it in use at the Sydney World Cup Round in Sydney May 2010. Course designer Wayne Copping is working very closely with Mats and Anders to help improve the deign.
I plan to upload videos, research papers and other material relating to improving eventing safety here. I have a web page of photos here which includes photos of frangible fences, if you have some please submit them for uploading. If you find some information, please share it. I firmly believe that if we all share information our sport will grow and prosper.