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Post your objections to frangible technology

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  • Blugal
    I object to course designers using frangibles as a justification for poor or downright dangerous course design (e.g. Burghley 2019).

    I object to anyone using frangibles that have not been extensively tested and designed to do the job they are supposed to (e.g. David O'Connor's design of a table; the deformable foam logs that were a fad for a few years about 5-8 years ago).

    I heard from local course designers that the cost of the frangibles is large and hits the organizers, but it also requires a crew at each frangible jump that is educated and available to fix them if they are deployed. We are short on volunteers anyway, so the organizers look at using other types of jumps that don't require frangible technology. I don't know if that's an overall positive or negative.

    Having said all that, if frangible fences can help prevent deaths in our sport, I'm all for it. Let's just do it intelligently, without complete knee-jerk reactions and with expert input.

    Leave a comment:

  • Marigold
    Originally posted by avjudge View Post
    I was surprised to see in it that frangible fences were linked with increased risk of falls in the years studied. But, that's just falls. Possibly they reduce injuries? Deaths? Or maybe more falls are happening at frangible fences because that technology is preferentially being deployed on difficult fences, and the fall rate would have been even greater if they weren't frangible. But clearly more analysis is needed to ensure that this is truly improving the situation.
    You are right that more analysis is needed to determine the causation behind these statistics. A leading theory is as you say above: frangible technology is being deployed on difficult fences, which themselves carry a high fall rate.

    However, the other important thing to note is that frangible technology is not necessarily designed to prevent a horse fall, but a rotational horse fall. The technology is designed to bear a significant amount of weight, up to a point where the horse is essentially already beginning to rotate (and thus place the majority of its weight on the fence). The fence then gives, and provides "release" to the horse's current direction of momentum. Sometimes that may allow the horse to regain their footing, but often it simply breaks the angle of rotation and the horse ends up falling onto their shoulder or side. It is a much less dangerous type of fall, which is the primary goal, but the deployment of the technology can still align with a horse fall because the horse was already falling when the technology deployed.

    Leave a comment:

  • Janet
    There is a USEF rule change in the works (for next year) that will impose a penalty for activating a frangible device at a USEF Horse Trials.

    Leave a comment:

  • eventingmania
    Originally posted by Twisting View Post
    Maybe breaking a pin should count against both the CD AND the rider. Make it an elimination. That would reduce the "it'll fall down so I don't have to be as careful" risk.
    I cannot remember how much they changed the frangible pins and flag rules the past 10 years but I am not arguing against you

    Leave a comment:

  • Twisting
    Maybe breaking a pin should count against both the CD AND the rider. Make it an elimination. That would reduce the "it'll fall down so I don't have to be as careful" risk.

    Leave a comment:

  • Scribbler
    What's the fall rate in show jumping where the jumps are knockdown? I've seen some pretty spectacular crashes on TV at Spruce Meadows.

    Leave a comment:

  • avjudge
    It seem intuitively obvious that this would make for safer jumps, but I am given pause after reading a report on a study of falls linked on the "Another Rider Death" thread. I was surprised to see in it that frangible fences were linked with increased risk of falls in the years studied. But, that's just falls. Possibly they reduce injuries? Deaths? Or maybe more falls are happening at frangible fences because that technology is preferentially being deployed on difficult fences, and the fall rate would have been even greater if they weren't frangible. But clearly more analysis is needed to ensure that this is truly improving the situation.

    I'm not saying that the technology shouldn't be deployed - it seems sensible to phase this in while studying what difference it makes, to the extent that there are enough data to draw conclusions - but it seems premature to go whole hog, assuming this will solve or in a great way reduce deaths.

    (Disclosure: I'm not an eventer, nor do I even jump, but I had - way back when - a physics degree and if there's anything that can teach the occasional failures of the intuitively obvious, it's studying the history of physics!)

    Leave a comment:

  • Saskatoonian
    My concern is that it will inadvertently encourage riskier riding by diminishing its consequences. Riskier riding is a broad category - from pros who want to win to green riders with more guts than experience to people riding horses who shouldn't be at the level.

    Compounding this is another concern: that the problem of horse falls isn't being analyzed globally. How many falls are actually happening at the jumps at issue and what is causing them? If 99 combinations jump it successfully, and one person flips, is that really due to the jump? We all know that may not be the case. Changing jump design doesn't address the real problem if it's the rider - and it may encourage similar riders who shouldn't be at that level.

    Leave a comment:

  • Jealoushe
    The cost
    The fail rate of pins
    The fact riders who know a fence is frangible might not ride as carefully
    The lack of pursuing other venues for answers as to why our sport is so dangerous.

    To be clear I support frangible devices but they are just 1% of the changes that need to be done.

    Leave a comment:

  • subk
    Frangible technology is good and should be broadly utilized, but courses and jumps should be designed so pins don't break in the first place. If someone regularly designed courses with dozens of horse falls they wouldn't be designing for long. And yet this is true of some of the most prominent designers in the sport if you start including pin breaks in the evaluation. The pins have allowed us to ignore bad design and to not hold designers accountable for it.

    Perhaps a pin break should be viewed as some sort of technical fall (not for the rider) and course designers should have some sort of sanction for designing courses with excessive number of falls and pin breaks.

    As a competitor I want to be able to search cross country result by xc course designer and I'd like to have that information prominently display rider falls, horse falls, and pin breaks at each level for each event. (As well as eliminations and refusals as a percentage of the division.) And yes, when I was competing more there were course designers whose events I wouldn't go to. As an organizer do you have the ability to evaluate a potential designer based on some sort of real data or even a safety rating? Or do you pick a designer because you want to rub elbows with someone who knows the queen or even just becasue they are someone who hangs with all the eventing cool kids?

    Leave a comment:

  • banmharcach
    Not an objection to frangible technology per se but to any blind faith in it actually always working.

    Some of the setups are quite refined & will require very particular installation and maintenance. Whilst probably not so much an issue for major events, I would worry about their use on smaller venues where they beome part of the schooling field etc & left out in all weather. As seen with even the Burghley gates, "frangibility" is not universally achieved depending on the approach & hit forces.

    Leave a comment:

  • CSU92
    started a topic Post your objections to frangible technology

    Post your objections to frangible technology

    It's been 20 years since the Hartington Report on eventing safety concluded that we must do everything possible to prevent horse falls. A course entirely consisting of theoretically perfect frangible fences would go a long way in preventing horse falls, mitigating most of the countless variables that contribute to the otherwise inevitable solid fence trips galloping horse scenario.

    We have a few frangible designs that have emerged but the evolutionary rate of these technologies seems to be glacial. There is a push to hasten development in this area but there are many questioning this approach. Is it a bad thing that the frangible cat is peeking its head further out of its bag?