The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has approved a revision to the rule regarding activation of a frangible device or obstacle on cross-country.
Effective March 31, 2015, 11 penalties will be awarded to any rider who activates a frangible device on cross-country in FEI competition. The newly modified rule also clarifies that riders may not appeal the Ground Jury’s decision and that the Ground Jury can remove the penalties “only if an unexpected activation occurred through a light tap.”
In December 2014, the Eventing Rules Article 548.1 of the 2015 FEI Rulebook was changed to indicate that 21 penalties would automatically be awarded for “breaking a frangible obstacle.” Riders could appeal the application of penalties if they could prove a “clear failure of the mechanism.”
The change to an automatic 21 penalties was met with a great deal of opposition, and the Eventing Riders Association International formed a petition to have the rule repealed, stating that the group was “openly opposed to any changes or revision by the FEI Eventing Committee to Article 548.1.” The Association explained that cross-country course designers had commented “off the record” that they would “seriously consider using fewer devices based on the possible effect a breakage has on the outcome of a competition.” Read their full explanation of concerns here.
In response to the opposition, the FEI met on March 10 and ultimately modified, but did not repeal, the rule.
“The modification is made in the interest of Risk management programme, following meetings with Eventing Riders and 3/4 star Eventing Course designers who expressed concern that the current rules would restrict the use of frangible devices,” said the statement. It also states that 11 penalties will be accepted to obtain a Minimum Eligibility Requirement (MER), effective immediately.