Providing for the safety of both horse and rider in the sport of eventing is one of the primary goals of the USEA, and education is vital to the achievement that goal. For years, the USEA has taken the lead when it comes to providing education about all aspects of training and competing safely in eventing. Below are just some of the ways that the USEA is spearheading safety in the sport.
Rules and Regulations for Horse and Rider Safety
The USEA, in collaboration with the USEF Eventing Sport Committee (formerly the USEF Eventing Technical Committee), has proposed many of the safety rules now in place at competitions such as:
- A dedicated position of Safety Coordinator at competitions with no duties outside of monitoring the safety of competitors.
- Certification of Safety Coordinators by the USEA.
- Specific qualifications for progressing up the levels of competition.
- The wearing of the highest standards in helmets and recommendations regarding wearing the highest standards of safety vests.
- Loss of establishment of those qualifications necessitating dropping down a level in order to re-qualify.
- "Return to Play" rule.
- Dangerous riding penalties.
- Mandating that trained emergency and medical personnel are present at all USEA-sanctioned competitions.
- Mandating that frangible devices are used on all appropriate fences at USEF-recognized competition.
- Created the Cross-country obstacle design guidelines for course designers/course builders, and updated them in 2020.
The USEA has and continues to financially support safety and horse welfare studies. Learn more about the research studies here.
Certified Instructors for Eventing
Training and Education for Eventing Officials and Course Designers
- Our rigorous Training Program for Eventing Officials (TPEO) ensures that officials are absolute experts in the field of safety at competitions. Licensing for officials takes place through the USEF.
- This also provides event organizers with a list of the very best judges, technical delegates, and course designers from which to choose to officiate at their events.
- The Course Advisors Program employs FEI Course Designers to review and submit a detailed report on the condition of the obstacles, footing, distances, the appropriateness for the level, and any necessary changes. Since its inception, the Course Advisor Program has dramatically improved the quality and standardization of cross-country courses throughout the country.
- Educational seminars for course designers/course builders.
- Developed Guidelines for Cross-Country Schooling Obstacles.
- Through the USEA Foundation crowdfunded and supported the funding of over 375 frangible fences at recognized eventing competitions across the U.S.
- Developed a partnership with EquiRatings, an equestrian data analytics firm, to provide ERQI ratings to all eventing horses registered with the USEA. This system provides a simple to understand risk assessment graphic on all horse records. It is viewable by the rider and owner of each horse.
- The creation of a Cross-Country Safety Subcommittee to explore course and obstacle design.
- Expansion of the USEA Safety Committee into three subcommittees focusing on Cross-Country Safety, Equine Safety and Welfare, as well as Rider Safety. Experts from inside and outside of the sport have been tapped to serve on these groups.
- Rider representatives appointed at each event to report the riders' view of the courses.
- In 2013, the USEA set an example for all other individual U.S. equestrian sports organizations by dedicating at least $1 of every entry towards equine research.
- ImPACT testing conducted by Dr. Sills, a neurosurgeon at Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center, at the USEA Annual Meeting.
- Resources regarding veterinary care for horses through an educational partnership between the USEA, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, ISELP, and Capitol Productions TV.
- Maintains resources regarding concussion and head trauma, with multiple safety and horse/rider health seminars at the USEA Annual Meeting each year, available to all attendees.
- Certifies and endorses clinics across the country to promote safe riding and education of horse and rider.
- The USEA took over management of the frangible fence technology program from the USEF in February 2020 and moved all sales to an easy to access online site.
- USEF and USEA distribute at least $26,000 in frangible grants annually to U.S. licensed competition organizers.
- USEA Board of Governors approved the distribution of ERQI Amber and Red list to all competition Technical Delegates prior to the start of competition beginning in 2020.