I will be the first to admit that there are many elements of upper level Eventing that scare
the shit out of me. Going into eventing initially wasn’t really a choice for me but rather what I needed to do if I wanted to compete with the barn that I boarded at/ the trainer I rode with. My first attempts out were pretty disastrous though not dangerous. Then I moved barns – got some confidence – and bam I was right back out there.
My last 2 horse trials with Houston were a blast. I came out of the ring or off course with bold smiles on my face and there was no denying the rush. I was on a high over my first phases until I found out that a horse had not made it off course. I couldnt imagine being the heartbroken rider that came back from the ride alone.
That said the injury that happened could not have been prevented by anything USEA or even event managers could do and had nothing to do with the particular fence that the horse was jumping but rather was believed to be an aneurysm. I didn’t event after that but more due to financial and time constraints in addition to the fact that ultimately I determined that eventing with Houston wasn’t for me.
While I do believe that there need to be steps taken to increase the safety for horse and rider on course I think that too many people are getting caught up with wanting immediate changes and playing the blame game on USEA. Also why is no one outraged when horses die at HJ shows? It is also incredibly unfair to try to act like there have been no improvements in recent years.
Amanda pointed out that I should take a look at the 1986 World Championships… HOLY SH*T guys! That was a crazy time. I can’t believe the number of people that had terrifying falls and GOT BACK ON. Guys, what in the world?!
USEA is a non profit. They do not make rules/ regulations or actually have any power when it comes to singlehanded changes to the eventing world. I personally think it’s crazy to think that if every USEA member committed $5-10 to the collapsable fence study that it would be fully funded.
I actually find it very interesting that in a study from 2014 we can see that the use of frangible pins/the move away from long format has coincided with a decrease in rotational falls/horse falls and the fatality rate has been cut almost in half – but sure no improvements have been made and USEA is the devil…
I don’t pretend to donate to all causes or even to be particularly generous with my donations but this is one that I didn’t even second guess. It seemed like a no brainer to me. Yes, the changes won’t be immediate but I would prefer that an educated change be determined instead of causing a huge frenzy among event organizers to replace or update fences when we aren’t even sure if the change will be a good solution. There is a reason why most things related to safety or health (in animals and humans) requires testing before it is put on the open market… Just saying!
Even if you don’t have a vested interest in Eventing I think we all as riders have a general vested interest in the safety of fellow riders. This has been talked to death a bit but I wanted to get this off my chest.