This statement has been issued by the Federation Equestrian International (FEI), the governing body of horse sports in the Olympic disciplines, following the isolated deaths of several horses and riders during competitions in the USA and Europe in the past few weeks:
The FEI is seriously concerned by the fatal accidents which have occurred in Eventing over the last months. Even though the FEI does not have the authority to manage and oversee national events, which are governed by the National Federations, it is determined to do its utmost to ensure the safety of the sport.
It has been decided to this effect to formalise the Eventing Safety Cross Country Working Group into a permanent FEI Safety Sub-Committee. This Committee will be led by International Rider and Course Designer David O’Connor (USA). The Committee membership will include riders, course designers and trainers of the leading Eventing nations. The Committee may invite experts from other disciplines and sports as the need arises.
The FEI Headquarters have set up a specific Eventing safety database and compiled a comprehensive report of all the figures relating to falls on Cross Country at international events, which is available on the FEI website www.horsesport.org > Eventing > Safety (direct link http://www.horsesport.org/c/safety/safety.htm). The role of the FEI Safety Sub-Committee will be to analyse the figures, trigger specific investigations (i.e. specific combination of fences, analysis of riders or horses falling several times during a year, events with abnormal number of falls, etc.), and produce concrete recommendations. Ensuring that the strictest international safety requirements are applied to the national level will also be part of their mission.
The FEI wishes to emphasise that it takes the welfare of the horse very seriously and sees safety of both its animal and human athletes as its highest priority.