USEF to support frangible devices

Occasionally I get some really good news sent to me very anonymously, sometimes it isn’t so good, but this one is.  For many years the USEF has been a leader in the introduction of Frangible Devices in the sport of Eventing. They are one of the few Federations to require Frangible Devices on certain types of  fences and also one of a very few that actually subsidize the  cost of using the devices.

Until now the USEF has only funded the British developed Frangible Pin. But a little birdy tells me this is all about to change.  As of very soon, the USEF will broadly support “Frangible Devices” and will subsidise the cost of the Mim NewEra System and I believe the Prolog, (while the Mim is a definite, I am not 100% sure on the Prolog).

Side on view of the Mim Team's Adjustable Post and Rail

Side on view of the Mim Team's Adjustable Post and Rail

I honestly believe that the Mim system is the best available product on the market today.  This is great news for US Eventing and I hope that the leadership shown by the USEF will be adopted by of other Federations including my own which lags behind in this area.

This change for the USEF will be reflected in changes to the design rules in the US that mandate the use of Frangible Pins on certain fences to more broadly Approved Frangible Devices.

Congratulations to the USEF for being world leaders in this area, as I understand it the push for this change came from the very top.

Lets hope we see more of this.

ESJ

How do we share our learnings effectively?

I have been pondering a couple of questions since Rolex, and I think they are worth sharing and discussing.

  1. Why were there no Mim NewEra Clips at Rolex?
  2. How do we share new ideas and concepts on “frangible fence design” effectively and efficiently?

I will start by saying neither of these questions is meant as a criticism but purely as points to generate debate. Personally I seek out frangible fences and always aim to have a real understanding of the thinking behind their use, the device incorporated and what will happen if they are deployed.

I think this is good practice for everyone involved in our sport, we all need to know and understand more about these devices.

So back to Rolex, I have had a good look at the fence photos and only the frangible pin was used, both in traditional and reverse installation.  The double corners caused a number of issues on the weekend including these incidents below, the second of which ended up being the most serious of the weekend with a dislocated elbow.

So the question I ask myself, is could the either situation have given a different result if the Mim device was used instead of the pins? Personally I think yes, the Mim installed on both front and back could and should have collapsed in both situations. But most course builder and designers, or even TDs have never seen such a fence.  I have, at Adelaide last year and I did a video for Eventing Nation on it with TD Andy Griffiths, (while the sound is terrible in parts) and it show how a frangible corner can be built.

So how do we share this information and knowledge in the future?

Thanks

John

2011 FEI Risk Management Seminar Minutes and Reports

My apologies for not getting onto this earlier but I have been away in sunny Florida.

So the FEI have released the minutes, participant list, presentations and fall statistics from the meeting held in late January. We must remember that this annual meeting is primarily National Safety Officers and is called the “FEI Eventing Risk Management Seminar”.

I must say up front that I was told in no uncertain terms prior to the meeting that the meeting was not about frangible devices or moves to develop an industrial standard. Well this seems to be exactly the case. I found a total of three references, in all of the eight documents published. All of these references were passing and include NO detail at all.

Personally I see this as a glaring omission and I will explain why.

For at least the last 12 months and for longer, but perhaps more anecdotally, we have been compiling data on the types of frangible devices used, types of fences they were used in, did they deploy or did they fail to deploy.

These are important statistics, there is NO statistical information included in the FEI Statistic on falls, fences and injuries that identify frangible devices. Just so I am being clear, there is absolutely no statistical information released by the FEI on the use of frangible fences.

I believe this information is critical to our plans and future direction. Let me explain a little first. At an FEI Competition, the TDs and CD need to fill in an extremely detailed form outlining the details of every fence included in the competition. Using this information we should be able to identify if you are more likely to have a horse fall off a left or right bend, in or out of water, up or down a hill, at a portable or fixed fence and also at a frangible or non-frangible fence.

We can also identify using the report, the profile of fences that have a statistically higher chance of causing a horse fall. We should also be able to identify if a particular profile of fence has a lower chance of producing a horse fall if a frangible device is used (and perhaps even which type of frangible device has the lowest chance of a horse fall).

All of this information is important for Officials to understand when analyzing a course and for CDs when preparing a course. Failure of frangible devices to deploy is also important information, especially when the resulting fall results in serious injury or worse. I can think of four really famous examples of failure to deploy in the last 12 months.

Was the failure to deploy a case of the perfect storm of bad circumstances or simply, a less appropriate device being used?

What I do know is that this type of information need not be highly sanitised to the point the information becomes useless, but disseminated to the people who need to know, firstly the NSO’s and secondly to the Officials who are the Individuals responsible and are responsible when something goes wrong.

I really do hope that more time was spent on discussing frangible devices and that some lost report suddenly appears on the FEI website, but I do not hold out much hope. It seems we are destined for another year of sanitised, compartmentalised and fragmented information about the sport.

One other issue I see with the statistics is that they only represent the FEI competitions. I know there are issues with getting complete information from National Federations, but hey, a complete picture on the sport would be nice. For instance the report mentions that there have been seven rider fatalities in the last 7 years. Unfortunately when you add the national competitions into the mix that number goes from 7 to 27 almost four times the rate.

Statistics are important and we must continue to work on them, however we need to extract and disseminate more meaningful and practical, applicable data that a Course Designer or Technical Delegate can use in the field where it really matters.

The documents can be read and downloaded on the FEI website here.

The FEI have released a policy and action plan

Hey guys, the long awaited FEI Eventing Risk Management Policy and Action Plan has been released.

At first glance I am disappointed.  To me this is a policy statement, the words Action Plan have been tacked onto the end of the title.

My understanding of an action plan is this:

  • Quantifiable goals, targets, actions and achievements
  • Identify and give deadlines for all of the above
  • Set review dates, and keep updating the plan.

An action plan without specific and measurable Key Performance Indicators is not a plan.

However, I do hold out hope.

“Communication plan

The FEI Eventing risk management needs also to take into account the risks for the FEI deriving from an unmanaged communication of any accident that will inevitably produce a bad image for the organization and the sport if not put in the right context of a proactive risk management policy.

Public perception of proactive risk management is as important as the risk management actions performed and an effective risk management communication plan is key for achieving the mission of the organization.

In order to ensure the above:

 A communication strategy for FEI Eventing risk management must be urgently developed. All risk management actions must be made public and actively explained .

 A clear procedure has been established in case of any serious accident to allow correct distribution of information.”

An urgent development of a communication strategy is a fantastic leap forward and I can’t wait to read it, even better be part of the team helping to develop it.  So yes we have taken a baby step in the right direction and for that I am thankful.

ESJ

 

 

 

Me on Eventing Nation – Eventing’s Honor Roll, the one list you don’t want to be on

Hi Guys I was moved to write this after reading about Jade South.

Eventing’s Honor Roll

Thanks for your interest

ESJ

Risk Management & Frangible Device meetings

Hi guys,

Just a quick post to let you all know I have not forgotten about these meetings and reporting on how they went. They were on 27, 28, & 29 of January. To date the “Cone of Silence” has been most effective and I have almost no information.

What I do know is that at least one other person tried to participate in the FEI Risk Management Meeting and despite a demonstrated track record in the area of Eventing Safety was excluded. Additionally, there are whispers of discontent amongst some present and the whole “cone of silence”. Hopefully this will lead to some change and more open and transparent discussions in the future.

I can’t even tell you if the ProLog guys were invited to the second TRL meeting after being excluded from the first despite the fact that the FEI stated the meeting included all known manufacturers of frangible devices.

As of now, I have no other information to share.

If you have more information and would like to share it anonymously with me drop me a line, your confidence will be respected 100%.

eventingsafety @ gmail.com

In the meantime, please rider safely and wear your helmet.

2011 Eventing Risk Management Seminar in Greenwich

On January 29 & 30 2011, the Annual Eventing Risk Management Seminar was held in Greenwich, the site of the 2012 London Olympic Games Equestrian Events.

This meeting is an important event on the future of Safety (Risk Management) in our sport and brings together National Safety Officers and other interested parties from across the Eventing world.

What was discussed is unclear at this stage as the minutes and papers from the Seminar are yet to be released and although I have placed a number of calls and emails to people I know were present at this stage I am none the wiser.

There was a press release from the FEI that can be seen here. However at this stage we are short on detail.

For one I have been trying for a period of time now to obtain a copy of the “FEI Eventing Risk Management Action Plan” mentioned in the press release and the best answer I have obtained is that it is being updated and will be made available when the updating is complete.  To my knowledge although in the press release it states that “launched in January 2010” it has not been released publicly before now. So this will be an eagerly awaited document.

In addition as I have mentioned previously there was a meeting on the 28th of January 2011 at the offices of TRL in London to discuss the creation of an industrial standard for Frangible Devices to be used in Eventing.

Again more information has been promised at some stage, however in the meantime the only mention of this meeting having occurred from the FEI is a paragraph (below) in the FEI Monthly Review from November 2010. Here is a copy of the full document on the IEOC website.

Eventing: meeting at Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), Wokingham (GBR), 10 NovemberThe meeting took place to discuss the possible creation of industrial standards for frangible / deformable Cross Country fences.Among the 18 participants were the Chairman of the FEI Eventing Committee, researchers from the universities of Bristol (GBR) and Kentucky (USA), as well as MIM Construction AB (SWE) and several top Cross Country Course Designers.Several frangible and deformable devices were presented. Discussions included possible definitions of tests to be undertaken (ie. forces to be measured) for such fences and enabled the participants to set out the principles for a first draft, which will be further reviewed at a meeting in January 2011.

That said I have seen a copy of the minutes of this meeting in November and it sounds promising.  However I will reiterate my previous comments that only a select few were present at the meeting, the team from ProLog were a notable exception despite some very promising research conducted that they have real capacity to stop rotational falls before they even begin.

I think that is enough said until I can obtain copies of the documentation.

Yours in Eventing and please wear your safety helmet, securely fastened at all times when mounted.

John