Jun 12, 2021

The Frangible Technology Fund Expands Across the United States

By Hannah Seagle - USEA Staff
Some of the many frangible fences which have been built using the funds. Not all fences are decorated and prepared for competition when photographed.

Just over a year ago, a group of eventers launched a fundraising campaign to raise $500,000 for the construction of frangible fences on cross-country courses at the Preliminary level and above around the country. With the overwhelming support of the eventing community, the USEA Foundation, the USEF, and a matching donation from the Manton Foundation, the goal was reached in less than 12 months.

The USEA Foundation Frangible Technology Fund Committee was formed to develop guidelines and oversee the distributions of the funds. The Committee’s first initiative was to make available frangible technology for table fences on Preliminary courses and above. The program then expanded to include the Modified level as well as provide frangible hardware for other types of fences including oxers, gates and walls, and corner fences.

In a year with significant financial restrictions, these grants enabled USEA national events to continue to improve their cross-country courses. “As an organizer, having the Frangible Technology Fund has boosted our efforts to continue prioritizing safety in our sport with the cross-country fence construction. Having accessible funding keeps the momentum strong for organizers and course designers to keep improving obstacles,” said Gretchen Butts, owner, and Organizer of Waredaca Farm Horse Trials in Gaithersburg, Md. “As an official, I have seen what happens when things go wrong and a horse does break a clip, collapsing the fence but saving the serious injury that would likely have resulted otherwise. Having the frangible safety mechanisms in place clearly lessens the consequences and keeps both horses and riders safer, which is our goal”.

In total, the USEA Foundation has raised more than $770,000 in total funds for frangible research, with over $519,000 specifically allocated for the Frangible Technology Fund. Through the fund, a total of 375 grants have been awarded to 130 venues all over the United States. Each grant awarded consisted of $1,000 USD and a chosen frangible hardware kit, enabling each event to construct a new frangible fence for their course. USEA cross-country builders have been busy constructing brand new, beautiful, and safer fences that will debut on courses for 2021. Keep a lookout for 180 new frangible tables, 76 collapsible oxers, 57 new gate and wall jumps, and 61 frangible corner fences!

Diane Pitts, Chair of the Board of Trustees of the USEA Foundation said, “The USEA Foundation is proud to have played a role in developing the Frangible Technology Fund and providing grants for the construction of frangible fences. The Foundation’s role is to support the initiatives and purposes of the USEA and one of the USEA’s key goals has always been increasing safety in our sport. The USEA and the USEA Foundation have worked continuously toward this goal, from developing and funding studies of frangible technology in 2008 and 2016 in conjunction with the University of Kentucky to joining in and administering the Frangible Technology Fund. The USEA and the USEA Foundation will continue to do whatever we can to make the sport of eventing as safe as possible. I would like to thank the staff of the USEA for their diligence in keeping track of the grant program and distributing the frangible technology. In particular, Hannah Seagle has gone way above the call of duty to make sure everything got to the right place in a timely manner.”

All the new jumps commissioned by the USEA Foundation Technology Fund can be identified by a special plaque. You can follow along with program updates and find photos of the newly constructed obstacles near you at USEAFoundation.org/Frangible-Technology. Anyone can contribute to the Frangible Technology Fund or any of the other important efforts of the USEA Foundation by visiting https://useafoundation.org/donate.

About the USEA Foundation

The fundamental mission of the USEA Foundation is to protect and preserve the sport of eventing for future generations and to provide support for the core educational, safety, and equine welfare programs of the USEA. In addition, the Foundation administers educational grants for riders with the intent of preparing them to reach their goals. Learn more about the USEA Foundation at www.useafoundation.org.

About the USEA Foundation Grants

The USEA Foundation is honored to administer a number of grants and scholarships, all designed to assist event riders to reach their goals. The grants provide funds to be used for coaching, training and participating in competitions aimed at advancing the skills of both horse and rider. Click here to learn more about the grants administered by the USEA Foundation.

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