The MIM Safe New Era Clip and Pin have become the first cross-country jump safety fixings to pass the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI)'s new approvals scheme for frangible devices in the discipline of eventing.
The landmark certifications mean the MIM Clip (FEI101SWE) and Pin (FEI102SWE) are currently the only devices permitted for use on frangible cross-country obstacles at FEI competitions worldwide, under the new FEI eventing rule (546.2.4.) which came into force on January 1, 2013.
The Swedish-made Clip and Pin have undergone many years of development and field tests in Sweden, Australia and the USA by their inventors, Mats Björnetun of MIM Construction AB and Anders Flogård. They attained the new specification at the FEI's only recognised test station, the world renowned Transport Research Laboratory in Crowthorne, Berkshire, UK.
Mats said: "We began looking at deformable devices, along with other committed horsemen around the world, all of us aiming to make a difference. MIM had the bonus of already working in the car safety industry and being able to make our own prototypes. Our quest was always more of a passion than a business, though I am naturally delighted that the FEI has set this stringent specification and that MIM is the first to reach this important milestone.
"We believe our two products provide course-designers with ample versatility, but this does not mean the work is over. Eventing will always be a risk sport but everyone who loves it should never stop questioning how we can take those risks down to the absolute minimum."
The MIM reverse Pin has the advantage of a re-usable indicator tool which fence judges can apply in just seconds to see if the Pin has been weakened by a non fall-inducing impact – important in pre-empting situations where competitors can challenge penalties awarded for breaking a fence believed to be already damaged. The reverse Pin is usually employed upright timber rail-type fences.
The MIM Clip is ideally suited for upright and oxer type fences and as well as the traditional table type fences. Any weakening of the MIM Clip by prior impact is indicated by distortion of a small metal flag which is visible to the naked eye. It is also easily replaced by the fence judge.
Frangible technology was developed after a sequence of rider fatalities worldwide in the late 1990s engaged the FEI and several national governing bodies in work to improve safety on cross-country courses.
Frangible devices, also known as deformable devices, are aimed at reducing rotational falls, where the risk of traumatic injury is greatest. In rotational falls, the horse somersaults or "hand-stands" over the fence, with the forelegs acting as the fulcrum when trapped behind fixed timber. In extreme incidences, the rider is thrown to the ground ahead of the horse which may then land upon him.
Fences fitted with frangible devices give way upon heavy impact. They are not primarily intended to prevent falls, though sometimes do. It is the non-rotational nature of these falls that reduces injury. When the fence collapses, the horse's forward motion continues with his body more likely to remain parallel to the ground, enabling the rider thrown clear or out of serious harm's way.
More information about the MIM System is available here: http://mimsafenewera.com/
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