A Great Story on the ProLog

ProLog

ProLogs into the water at Red Hills Horse Trials 2010

The ProLog is an engineered Polystyrene log painted to look like a real log.  It is the brain child of Canadian Eventers Mike Winter and Kyle Carter (recently named on the Canadian WEG Team).  Kyle operates from a base in Florida USA whilst Mike is based in the UK and is also a Course Designer.

The ProLog site is here.

However, this is a great story on the Pros and Cons of the ProLog on the Eventing Worldwide website, enjoy.

ProLog

This is what a ProLog looks like on the inside, from Red Hills Horse Trials 2010

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Reluctance to promote Frangible Fences………………………….

Safety or Risk Management – whichever you prefer, in Eventing has a number of aspects and opportunities for improvement.  One of the most critical is to “Prevent Rotational Falls”.  Why, Rotational Falls are responsible for the highest number of serious injuries and fatalities to horses and riders. This is a relatively simple goal.  Much harder in execution, for a number of reasons:

  1. Not every fence can or should be frangible otherwise we are just talking about showjumping.
  2. There is no simple application, different fences, building materials and locations of fences can lead to different issues.
  3. To date, no frangible device will work with all fence types, although some are getting close.
  4. Frangibility and consistency of results and fairness need to be as uniform as possible.
  5. Improving the quality of riding will help to reduce dangerous falls, although a number of high profile falls recently have proven that even the best can have rotational falls.
  6. What about the consequences on results of a serious XC mistake having no penalty? Thanks to a frangible device.

Quite rightly there is no simple answer, however there seems to be resistance from a number of angles in accepting and even embracing these new technologies and methodologies, without years of vigorous testing, analysis and use.  There is definitely a real case for getting it right, however as a sport, are we not better off to be seen rushing into some new technologies rather than dragging the chain whilst horses and riders die or have near misses.

A quick look at the web-sites of the biggest Three Day Events across the globe does not yield any information or focus on the Frangible Fences.  For instance, one would think that given intense media scrutiny these top events are under they would publicise those initiatives in place to help saves lives and reduce injuries.  There is a story in Horsetalk about the use of Reverse Frangible Pins at the 2010 Badminton Horse Trials, however this is about all there is.

Almost all major events use Frangible Technologies in some form, why do they not spruke about this, have a focus in their media releases, show the fences on their interactive course maps and show how they are designed to fail?  If it is good enough and promoted by our biggest and most prestigious events then it must be good enough to use at smaller national and international events.  As a sport we know we can improve safety and reduce the chances of life threatening injury to horse and rider, surely a higher profile focus on these improvements and initiatives will help us to deliver “good pictures” and good stories about our sport.

If not we will be left with videos on youtube, photos on front pages of newspapers or TV and Radio stories deploring the injuries and fatalities in our sport.  Did you know that a young lady died in May competing at 1 star level in eventing,  she will not be the last but we can ensure that as a sport we learn from her loss and the loss of others who have died or been seriously injured competing.

We have a plan as a sport, that plan needs to come to the forefront of everything we do, what we promote and where we are heading.  Let’s be proactive and talk about it at every opportunity and publicise our successes not just our failures or near misses.

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The ProLog in Competition

The ProLog has been used in competition on a number of occasions. I saw it in action at Red Hills HT, Hugh Lochore actually employed them primarily to reduce stifle injuries on the entry into the water. For the 3* class it was a bounce and the 2* a one stride. In both cases the ProLog was employed for both A & B elements.

Interestingly, for the first element it was built conventionally, supported only on the ends. For B element for both classes the pole was supported in the centre also, Hugh’s reason being it was a low fence from memory only 80cm high. At that height it is not recommended to be frangible (for the frangible pin a fence needs to be normally at least 95cm high to use the pins, source USEA Cross-Country Obstacle Design Standards & Frangible Pin Handbook). Hugh saw real potential in reducing the number of stifle injuries by using a log that would absorb some impact.

Given the number of impacts on the logs at the end of the day, we could see that this application certainly has some merit. Here are some pics of them, one log was broken in the two star class. The feedback was that it broke due to the high number of impacts (most horses gave it some sort of rub) rather than any single impact.

On the other hand, they were used for the first time at the Rolex 3DE 4 Star event. The log was used on the entry into the “Head of the Lake”. It was only broken once, by Capt. Geoff Curran and The Jump Jet the ProLog snapped clean in half meaning that they stayed up top and safe. There was a video on youtube of it but for some reason it has been pulled. Here is a photo on the Chronicle of the Horse website. This second pic is amazing.

If anyone has a copy of the video, I would love to see it again.