Industry Standards for Frangible Cross-Country Jumps Defined

In order to keep the competition fair breakaway cross-country jumps must follow the new industrial standards.
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Cross-country jumps designed to break apart upon impact are safer for horses and riders, but in order to be fair they must follow new industrial standards in Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) competitions, according to an FEI spokeswoman.

As of Jan. 1, 2012, all "frangible and deformable structures and devices"–or breakaway jumps–used in FEI competitions have to adhere to a set of standards developed by an FEI Eventing Committee task force and the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), an "internationally recognized research consultancy," said Catrin Norinder, director of eventing at the FEI, which is based in Lausanne, Switzerland.

The fences are designed to give way under impact to prevent serious injury. However, if the fence does break apart, the rider is significantly penalized (21 penalty points), Norinder said. To maintain fairness of the competitions, it is critical that the obstacles always break under the same amount of force for all jumps, competitors, and competitions, she said.

"The (new) industrial standards have been put in place to ensure the constancy of the breakability," Norinder said

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Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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