Jun 17, 2020

Thesis Based on USEA Frangible Fence Study Released

By USEA
RedBayStock.com Photo.

Shannon Wood, a graduate student in the mechanical engineering program at the University of Kentucky, has published a thesis entitled “Safety Concepts for Every Ride: A Statistical Ensemble Simulation to Mitigate Rotational Falls in Eventing Cross-Country.”

Wood was part of the team that worked with Dr. Suzanne Weaver Smith, University of Kentucky Professor of Mechanical Engineering, on the USEA Frangible Fence Study from 2016-2018. The study was funded by donations raised by the USEA Foundation and the initial findings were released in 2019. Information from this study is also included in Wood’s thesis.

Wood’s thesis abstract states, “Rotational falls are the leading cause of death and serious injury in the equestrian sport of eventing. Previous studies to develop safety devices used physical models representing one or at most several physical situations leading to different designs and no common understanding. In this thesis, a statistical ensemble model is developed and applied to generate and evaluate 10,000 different situations that might potentially lead to rotational falls. For accurate statistical representation of the horse and rider inertia distributions, measurements of over 400 training or competing horses and riders were recorded and incorporated. Video was recorded of 218 total competitors approaching 10 different jumps on cross-country courses in competitions ranging from Preliminary to CCI5*, yielding jump configuration angles for different fence types. Combining information for these, among 26 total variables, a statistical ensemble simulation using impulse momentum physics identifies conditions for rotation and defines design criteria for future general and situation-specific jumps and safety devices. A Jump Safety Quality Index is also devised to represent the benefit of an activating fence design for mitigating rotational falls versus the detriment and competition penalties of false activation.”

Wood also shared the following highlights:

  • Chapter 3 is largely engineering concepts for calculating physical properties of the horse and rider for the physics calculations. The measurement survey of competitors’ sizes yielded 429 measurements from a variety of breeds and USEA and FEI levels.
  • Chapter 4 is video recordings of 10 cross-country fences to gather speed and position information in the field. Three fences were from the Kentucky CCI5* and seven were from Chattahoochee Hills in April of 2019 from Preliminary to CCI4*-S. These video recordings were taken from a stationary, side perspective to the jump in order to capture speed and position information. Speed information cannot be taken from competition video where the camera follows the horse. This was important because each jump is not taken at the course “Optimum Speed.”
  • Chapter 5, specifically section 5.1, shows varieties of rotational falls: one-contact, two-contact (rotation upon landing), and torsional falls. Each of these may include the horse pushing off the ground while in contact with the fence. Each of these situations have different physical characteristics. The horse’s hind legs pushing could greatly vary the contact on the fence from those in a pendulum test. Two-contact rotations are also seen commonly in the video survey. These rotations are reliant on not only the fence, but the landing position of the horse’s leg, the footing, terrain, and ability to recover from stumbling.
  • Chapter 7 includes the details of the simulation developed. Possibilities of irrecoverable contacts, where the competitor is in a position such that regardless of fence activation, the competitor will have a rotational fall. Angles and magnitudes of contacts for rotational and no-rotational falls are shown. No-rotational fall contacts average a “harder hit” than rotational fall contact. There is also a lot of overlap between contacts that result and don’t result in rotational falls. This makes it harder to design safety devices and increases the probability of activations for contacts that wouldn’t result in rotational falls (false activations). For this reason, the penalty for activating a safety device should be carefully considered.

“Results of this study include probability of rotation for a fixed fence scenario, the mitigative potential for preventing rotational falls, and contacts that cause a fence to activate but would not result in a rotational fall,” Wood said. “This information is incorporated into a Jump Safety Quality Index. It also includes force-time contact information for rotational and no-rotational fall contacts on the critical foreleg region. Illustrations of varieties of rotational falls are included—one-contact, two-contact (rotation on landing), and torsional falls and an additional contributor to rotation: hind feet pushing while in contact with the fence. Recommendations for impulse limit and contact angle are included to minimize unnecessary (false) activations.”

Wood’s thesis can be viewed in full here.

Read past updates on the USEA Frangible Fence Study:

May 12, 2021 Competitions

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Announces $300,000 Prize Money for Inaugural Event

The Fair Hill Organizing Committee (FHOC), an affiliate of the Sport and Entertainment Corporation of Maryland (The Sport Corp.), today announced athletes and horses in the inaugural Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill (CCI5*-L) will be competing for $300,000 in prize money. Additionally, the US Equestrian Federation (USEF) Eventing National Championship (CCI3*-L), running in conjunction with the 5 Star, will award $25,000 in prize money. Both events, as well as the United States Eventing Association (USEA) Young Event Horse East Coast Championships, will take place this October 14-17 at the new Fair Hill Special Event Zone in Cecil County, Maryland.

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Pre-Purchase Examination 101: With Dr. Shauna Spurlock

You’ve seen a horse you like. You’ve ridden it; you love it. The money’s right; you’ve agreed to buy it. What happens next?

Pre-purchase veterinary examinations are one of those topics that a roomful of horsey people could discuss - and argue amongst themselves about - for hours. For the amateur rider, that can be confusing and slightly alarming.

So, let’s simplify it. What is a pre-purchase examination, why are they done, and what should you expect?

May 11, 2021 Intercollegiate

Eyes on the Prize at the USEA Intercollegiate Eventing Championships

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May 10, 2021 Eventing News

2021 FEI MER Changes effective July 1

The FEI passed rule changes impacting Minimum Eligibility Requirements in November 2020 that go into effect on July 1, 2021. The changes will impact athletes who are uncategorized, “D” and “C” athletes competing at the CCI4*-S, CCI3*-L, CCI4*-L, and CCI5*-L levels. Please see below for the highlighted changes. The USEF requirements to compete at these levels remain unchanged, but please remember that the USEF requirements must be achieved within 12 months of the competition. These changes will be adopted into the USEF Eventing Rulebook by July 1. See Appendix 3 for qualification requirements.

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA

Official Horse Clothing of the USEA