Eventing Safety: Frangible Fence Development in the Works

A group of cross-country course designers are taking another step toward improving eventing safety. U.S. Equestrian Federation (USEF) President and licensed course designer David O'Connor and other designers and builders will join with faculty and students at the University of Kentucky, to form a multidisciplinary team to develop and demonstrate additional frangible technology for cross-country fences.

This development and testing will be costly. The group has set a goal of raising $150,000 to support the research project.

Frangible technology, often referred to as "breakaway fences," has to be based on sound engineering principles; it is not as simple as making fences that fall down when impacted. Ill-designed frangible technology can cause more problems than it is intended to prevent.

This team expects to build on the extensive prior work of the Transportation Research Laboratory and Bristol University in Great Britain. The engineers plan to evaluate prototype and full scale jump concepts that course designers and course builders are developing.

"We leapt at the chance to participate in this project, which has such importance for our state," said Eric Grulke, PhD, associate dean for research. "We are excited to be teaming with such an experienced group of designers. We are going to research ways to make safer jumps through new and improved materials, different construction and better design. With work in all three areas, we think we can build revolutionary and safer eventing jumps."

To make a donation to the Frangible Technology Fund visit Usef.org.

Read more about frangible technology.

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