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Post your objections to frangible technology

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    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?


    #2
    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.

    Comment


      #3
      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?

      Comment


        #4
        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.
        Boss Mare Eventing Blog

        Comment


          #5
          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.

          Comment


            #6
            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!)

            Comment


              #7
              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.

              Comment


                #8
                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.
                For the horse color genetics junky

                Comment


                  #9
                  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
                  I love horses, eventing and good dining!
                  Blogging at www.eventingmania.com

                  Comment


                    #10
                    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.
                    Janet

                    chief feeder and mucker for Music, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now). Spy is gone. April 15, 1982 to Jan 10, 2019.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      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.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        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.
                        Blugal

                        You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Why "frangibles will increase reckless riding" is *not* a valid argument:

                          I don't think helmets and safety vests have increased dangerous riding, have they?

                          Most riders have enough sense not to go charging at a fence with an "if I miss, it will fall and save me" attitude. (I hope.)

                          For the few riders who are more daredevils than they are riders, dangerous riding to frangibles will be obvious to observers, including event officials. Also, a rider will stand out statistically if they trigger the release far more often than most riders. (That stat needs to be tracked along with many others.)

                          Rider qualifications, disqualifications, yellow cards, pulling off course, and accountability generally is another discussion, but holding the eejits accountable does have to be implemented along with the safety technology, to make safety truly effective. Safety technology is important, but it can't be responsible for people with no sense.

                          Also. Not only is "riders will be more reckless" not true of most riders, but it has nothing to do with the general need for frangibles for the majority of riders who don't ride recklessly.

                          For the few eejit riders who test the limits of safety, the cure is *not* allowing them to kill themselves on course because we didn't deploy frangibles to save them. Rather, hold them accountable for their excesses, if they are regularly busting the frangibles like show jumps.

                          The real eejits have to be pulled off the course, and if they can't learn better, off the sport. If there is more accountability for reckless riding, and therefore less of it, then we can't blame frangibles for increasing reckless riding. IMO
                          Last edited by OverandOnward; Mar. 5, 2020, 10:44 PM. Reason: phrasing for readability

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by OverandOnward View Post
                            Why "frangibles will increase reckless riding" is *not* a valid argument:

                            I don't think helmets and safety vests have increased dangerous riding, have they?

                            Most riders have enough sense not to go charging at a fence with an "if I miss, it will fall and save me" attitude. (I hope.)

                            For the few riders who are more daredevils than they are riders, dangerous riding to frangibles will be obvious to observers, including event officials. Also, a rider will stand out statistically if they trigger the release far more often than most riders. (That stat needs to be tracked along with many others.)

                            Rider qualifications, disqualifications, yellow cards, pulling off course, and accountability generally is another discussion, but holding the eejits accountable does have to be implemented along with the safety technology, to make safety truly effective. Safety technology is important, but it can't be responsible for people with no sense.

                            Also. Not only is "riders will be more reckless" not true of most riders, but it has nothing to do with the general need for frangibles for the majority of riders who don't ride recklessly.

                            For the few eejit riders who test the limits of safety, the cure is *not* allowing them to kill themselves on course because we didn't deploy frangibles to save them. Rather, hold them accountable for their excesses, if they are regularly busting the frangibles like show jumps.

                            The real eejits have to be pulled off the course, and if they can't learn better, off the sport. If there is more accountability for reckless riding, and therefore less of it, then we can't blame frangibles for increasing reckless riding. IMO
                            Actually frangible pins and MIMs as well as rolltop fences do encourage bad and "dare devilish" kind of riding. The statistics already proved this. Also proving this theory are the many videos used in marketing especially the MIMs that shows extreme poor riding and the "look they got saved by the MIMs" comment attached to it.

                            For sure we need to work on safety measures but the bottom line is riders need to know how to ride safe and better and also be presented to fair built courses.
                            I love horses, eventing and good dining!
                            Blogging at www.eventingmania.com

                            Comment

                              Original Poster

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Marigold View Post

                              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.
                              I think it was 2002 when I walked a course with a newly pinned vertical white gate. Phillips said it was pinned to prevent the rotational fall but would not prevent the horse fall. This obviously fails the directive of the 2000 Safety Report. "prevent horse falls". That could be forgiven as it was only two years later but now we are 20 years later.

                              I agree that pins are inadequate at this point and that new solutions need to be found. It would be interesting to find out how much the whole pin development and deployment program has cost as a percentage to the overall cost of course building expenses. How much does a giant carved squirrel cost vs a simple pinned open oxer?

                              Moving on from pins would address the many issues raised in these posts about reliability and horses still falling at pinned jumps.

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Originally posted by eventingmania View Post

                                Actually frangible pins and MIMs as well as rolltop fences do encourage bad and "dare devilish" kind of riding. The statistics already proved this. Also proving this theory are the many videos used in marketing especially the MIMs that shows extreme poor riding and the "look they got saved by the MIMs" comment attached to it.

                                For sure we need to work on safety measures but the bottom line is riders need to know how to ride safe and better and also be presented to fair built courses.
                                Correlation does not always equal causation. You could say the same thing about air vests. It's likely that other factors result in the increase in rider falls. I don't see how marketing videos are proof that people ride with poor riding on purpose. They're just videos of the pins being activated to show that they decrease rotations. Several of the videos I saw resulted in elimination anyway, and I think the point was that they still hit hard but they didn't rotate. I can't fathom that a rider would ride in such a manner toward what is still a pretty solid big fence.

                                I think safety pins are one part of reducing falls.
                                http://weanieeventer.blogspot.com/

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  I am not opposed to MIMs.

                                  But.

                                  I don't believe it's the crux of the problem.

                                  I don't think riders should have to personally fund them with money raising efforts etc. It should be handled by the respective governing bodies, while cutting budget for other frill stuff (do we REALLY need flowers by the dressage arena? Do we REALLY need all the decor by the other fences?). If they need to raise the fees X amount for each person, fine.

                                  I believe the crux of the problem is dangerous riding. Otherwise, how could certain riders make it their whole careers without a serious rotational? I know I know, "there but by the grace of god, go I." But it does beg the question.

                                  So. Sure, put MIMs in (PS, do they have a competitor in this particular field?). But make it a monster penalty if activated, so that they don't encourage dangerous riding. In addition, if a MIMs device is activated X times in a competition, the CD needs to be looked at thoroughly - did they make the fence too tricky, too unreadable?

                                  Comment

                                    Original Poster

                                    #18
                                    Originally posted by Blugal View Post
                                    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.
                                    So from this I see concerns with the available devices and problems managing them. New systems need to be developed.

                                    The frangible pin was developed as you suggest with engineers and experts, I believe. We now have had 20 years of testing. The problem in 2000 was " We have all these cheap utility poles that we make jumps out of. Design us something that will enable us to keep using these utility poles but make them less likely to flip a horse" . Why not just build out of something other than utility poles?

                                    What is your objection to the DOC design or the Prologs you mentioned? What sort of testing do you want to see. I know that U of Kentucky has worked on some testing protocols and crash test horse dummies have been developed.

                                    It looks like the prologs actually might have prevented some horse falls.
                                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUfte-rCsAE

                                    I'm pretty sure I saw a bounce down into water like this at Middleburg HT where an Olympian crashed and broke her pelvis under her fallen horse..

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Originally posted by enjoytheride View Post

                                      Correlation does not always equal causation. You could say the same thing about air vests. It's likely that other factors result in the increase in rider falls. I don't see how marketing videos are proof that people ride with poor riding on purpose. They're just videos of the pins being activated to show that they decrease rotations. Several of the videos I saw resulted in elimination anyway, and I think the point was that they still hit hard but they didn't rotate. I can't fathom that a rider would ride in such a manner toward what is still a pretty solid big fence.

                                      I think safety pins are one part of reducing falls.
                                      I don't believe anybody ride poorly on purpose. But a lot of people push things to the limit over roll top fences and fences that one way or the other are collapsible.

                                      Higher level riders even admit they do these things. While lower level or inexperienced riders if you will, in most cases most likely are not even aware they do this.

                                      Me for one would love to see statistics on how many horses, just like Bob the Builder EC Poland 2017 and Axel Z 5* Germany 2018 died in relation to MIM fences. Maybe those boys are it or maybe there are more.

                                      But it is not like anybody in the sport is likely to spill it so to say when things go bad on i.e. collapsible fences. Which in my case makes me suspicious.

                                      I love horses, eventing and good dining!
                                      Blogging at www.eventingmania.com

                                      Comment

                                        Original Poster

                                        #20
                                        Originally posted by endlessclimb View Post
                                        I am not opposed to MIMs.

                                        But.

                                        I don't believe it's the crux of the problem.

                                        I don't think riders should have to personally fund them with money raising efforts etc. It should be handled by the respective governing bodies, while cutting budget for other frill stuff (do we REALLY need flowers by the dressage arena? Do we REALLY need all the decor by the other fences?). If they need to raise the fees X amount for each person, fine.

                                        I believe the crux of the problem is dangerous riding. Otherwise, how could certain riders make it their whole careers without a serious rotational? I know I know, "there but by the grace of god, go I." But it does beg the question.

                                        So. Sure, put MIMs in (PS, do they have a competitor in this particular field?). But make it a monster penalty if activated, so that they don't encourage dangerous riding. In addition, if a MIMs device is activated X times in a competition, the CD needs to be looked at thoroughly - did they make the fence too tricky, too unreadable?
                                        Re: dangerous riding. What percentage of the top 100 riders in the world have never had a rotational fall? Is there another kind of rotational other than serious?

                                        I agree that a system needs to be developed that reliably penalizes instances where a horse fall would have been the result except for the activation of the system. We also need to make a much bigger deal out of the near misses, non serious rotationals, "just hung a leg and got popped out of the tack" scenarios

                                        Comment

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