Published by the FEI, following PAU 5* (XC):
"Dear FEI Eventing Officials,
We would like to inform you that further to the issues raised by the athletes following the CCI5-L Pau (FRA), 26-30 October 2022, the following statement has been issued:*
CCI5 Pau (FRA), 26-30 October 2022*
Representatives of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group have collected evidence from all relevant sources and undertaken a full review of the circumstances surrounding the release of the safety device on fence 21B (a corner in the water after a drop fence) during the Cross Country at the CCI5 in Pau (FRA), where 8 combinations incurred penalties.*
Pierre Michelet the Course Designer said “21AB was a true 5 star test with a drop into water over a big log and 3 strides to an open corner designed to be jumped at an angle. The best riders did this well. For some riders, they jumped in awkwardly and/or took extra strides taking off either too close or straight on to the corner deploying the frangible device. This was the 5 star test”.
“Two of the activations almost certainly avoided a horse fall which is exactly what the sport is trying to achieve” said Geoff Sinclair from the RMSG.
In light of all the evidence reviewed, which included video and scientific measurements, the RMSG concluded that the frangible device in place with yellow clips intended by the Course Designer to be jumped at an angle provided the expected release. The fence required an accurate approach and rewarded the riders with the correct line towards the angled corner. The Pau organisers ensured that the clips were changed anytime a horse touched the fence so that it was fair for every competitor.
The FEI has collected data for the past 20 years and has identified open corners as the fence type that cause the most horse falls. This is why a specific standard has been developed for fences intended to be jumped at an angle.
The FEI Eventing vision statement and the Risk Management policy in place states that the 5 star Cross country needs to maintain the highest level of difficulty as well as preserving the degree of influence on the overall competition results but with a safe approach. The result of the Pau 2022 Cross Country achieved this goal as no horse falls were registered during the test and the difficulty of the course was of 5 star level.
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