New FEI Eventing Safety Group Holds First Meeting

The Fédération Equestre Internationale's new safety subcommittee held its first meeting on June 18 in London.

International rider and course designer David O'Connor chairs the group. Committee members include: Chris Bartle, international rider and trainer of the German national eventing team; Laurent Bousquet international rider and chairman of the French national federation safety commission and trainer of the Belgium national eventing team; Yogi Briesner, trainer of the British national eventing team; Andrew Nicholson, Olympic eventing rider; Michael Tucker, international eventing technical delegate and course designer and FEI eventing course director.

The FEI safety subcommittee has now been formalized as a standing committee reporting to the FEI eventing committee. The safety subcommittee will meet twice a year, and the next meeting will take place at the end of this year.

The objective of the inaugural meeting was to define the committee's mission as well as its frame of work. The committee is to:

  • Identify all areas of concern;
  • Investigate or trigger specific investigations;
  • Manage all issues related to eventing safety by recommending rule updates and policy changes in the sport;
  • Communicate on all findings
  • Prevention, analysis, and management will be part of each discussion for all issues raised.

During the June 18 meeting, the committee reviewed the following specifics:


  • Ensuring that the strictest international safety requirements are applied to the national level;
  • Development of diversified safety devices for cross country construction;
  • Promoting research on riders helmets;
  • Reviewing of trends in dourse design;
  • Stopping horses on cross country course;
  • Reviewing of number of refusals on cross country;
  • Training of fence stewards;
  • Introduction of a national eventing expert to be the liaison between the national federation and the FEI in relation to all safety issues;
  • Review of FEI officials' education and qualification;
  • Qualification of riders at national level before entering low level international events;
  • Promotion of FEI eventing safety database and reports on all the figures relating to international events in the discipline.


  • Monitoring of statistics (i.e. specific combination of fences, analysis of riders or horses falling several times during a year, events with abnormal number of falls, etc.), and follow-up with FEI officials and national federations;
  • Inclusion of veterinary information on horses in a safety database;
  • Review of serious accidents and procedures.


  • Communication and follow-up of safety program;
  • Planning of safety educational seminars.

The FEI emphasized in a statement regarding the meeting that it takes the welfare of the horse very seriously and sees safety of both its animal and human athletes as its highest priority.

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