In December 2020, Dr. Erin Contino, a practicing veterinarian and an active eventer in Area IX, gave a presentation at the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Virtual Convention on advances in safety in the sport of three-day eventing.
Her presentation, which is geared specifically towards veterinarians, begins with an overview of the sport of eventing, for those who might be unfamiliar. As veterinarians, animal welfare is of paramount importance, and so they too are concerned with trying to reduce the inherent risk of the sport. Contino shares national and international statistics on horse falls and fatalities, as provided by the USEA and FEI.
After Contino has defined the problem of safety in eventing, she moves on to share data and information on a number of initiatives that have taken place over the last 30 years to make the sport of eventing safer for horses and riders, from changes put in place to mitigate hot and humid climates, the cardiopulmonary research group, air quality index considerations, increased awareness of footing and conditioning, and rider education and awareness. She also talks about how rules affect horse safety and how the EquiRatings ERQI uses data and analytics to assess safety.
Contino then provides information about a few studies that have been done surrounding horse safety. The first study looks at risk factors associated with horse falls. The study collected data over a 5-year period and recorded over 2 million jumping efforts. The second study looked at how a horse's dichromatic vision could be accommodated to improve jumping performance. The third study looked specifically at the efficacy of frangible devices in preventing rotational falls.