WTF Are We Doing ?

*Bumped for 2019
Another rider seriously injured. Two horses killed last weekend. Does anyone really care about these accidents? Is ANYTHING being done?

If either of those falls had turned out just a bit differently, would there be more of an uproar?

How many serious injuries, horse and rider fatalities will it take for some sort of action from our governing bodies or the FEI to take a stance and start to do some research and number crunching about why these things are happening so often.

I don’t not want to hear about the inherent “risks” of the sport. We know it’s a dangerous sport, but it shouldn’t be akin to playing Russian Roulette.

Updated list of Rider and Horse deaths: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2012/04/02/ev…#axzz3abkTiuAj

Read more: http://horsetalk.co.nz/2012/04/02/ev…#ixzz3acTLQ4dk
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(nationality/country of accident)

Maxime Debost FRA Sept 17
Santiago Zone ARG Oct 16
Nikita Sotskov BLR Sept 16
Philippa Humphreys USA May 16 (Jersey Fresh)
*Caitlyn Fischer AUS April 16
*Olivia Inglis AUS March 16
*Guillaume Pucci FRA June 15
*Sabrina Manganaro ITA Apr 15
*Francisco Seabra POR/ESP Feb 15
*Benjamin Winter Ger Jun 14
*Jordan McDonald Can/GB Jun 14
*Cathal O’Malley Ire Apr
*Tom Gadsby NZ/UK Aug 13
*Bruno Bouvier Fra/Por Mar 13
*Jo Rugman GB Mar 11
*Sebastian Steiner Aut/Ita Sep 10
*Robin Donaldson GB Aug 10

  • Elena Timonina RU May 10
    *Dirk Grouwels Bel Mar 10
    *Ian Olding Ire/GB Apr 09
    *Jade South GB Oct 08
    *Emma Jonathan GB Aug 08
    *Stephen Moore IRE Aug 08
    *Karen Rodgers IRE Apr 08
    *Franz Graf AUT Apr 08
    *Shannon Bloomfield GB Jan 08
    *Eleanor Brennan GB/USA Nov 07
    *Maia Boutanos FRA Sep 07
    *Tina Richter-Vietor GER Aug 07
    *Anke Wolfe GER Aug 07
    *Elin Stalberg SWE Jul 07
    *Julie Silly FRA May 07
    *Jo-Anne Williams GB Apr 07
    *Amelie Cohen FRA Mar 07
    *Amanda Bader US Feb 07
    *Kim Hyung Chil KOR/UAE Dec 06
    *Mia Eriksson USA Nov 06
    *Sherelle Duke IRE/GB Aug 06
    *Caroline Pratt GB Sep 04
    *William Booth USA Sep 04
    *Cindy Burge USA Jun 04
    *Samantha Hudson GB Aug 03
    *Rhonda Mason 00
    *Mark Myers Aus Apr 00
    *Jemima Johnson GB Apr 00
    *Peter McLean GB Sep 99
    *Simon Long GB Sep 99
    *Polly Phillips GB Aug 99
    *Robert Slade Aus/GB Jun 99
    *Peta Beckett GB May 99
    *Keith Taylor USA Jun 98
    *David Foster IRE Apr 98
    *Tasha Khouzam AUS Mar 98
    *Roberta Scoccia US 98
    *Linda Riddle US 98
    *Amanda Warrington USA Sep 97
    *Sam Moore Ire/GB Sep 97
    *Anna Savage AUS May 97

Horses
(Name/country of accident)

Pizazz II April 2019 (UK) - Intermediate South of England HT- Fell head first after clearing fence
Machismo Star March 2019 (UK) - Intermediate at Poplar Park (UNREPORTED)
Jurta M Sept 2018 (POL) - CIC2* - collapsed and died on course
Shannondale Julius Sept 2018 (US) - Fell at a warm up fence and broke neck
Shadow Sapphire Sept 2018 (UK) - Prelim - fell at a Trakehner
Box Qutie Sept 2018 (US) - WEG - sustained soft tissue injury and had surgical complications with circulatory issues and was euthanized.
HHS Dassett Appeal Aug 2018 - (UK) CCI3* Blair Castle - sustained irreparable injury.
BGS Country Dreams Aug 2018 (IRE) CIC3*- fell (non-rotational) awaiting necropsy.
Enchanted (USA) July 2018 - Slipped on a turn and fractured leg - Intermediate level
Axel Z (GER) June 2018 - Rotational fall at upright, spinal injuries -MIPS did not deploy Luhmhlen CCI****
Gloriette TN (UK) June 2018 - Fall in the Intermediate - euthanized (UNREPORTED) Catton Park
Second Supreme (UK) June 8 2018 - Stumbled and collapsed after fence 24 Trakehner in the U25 CCI***
Redpath Ransom (UK) May 6 2018 - Suffered irreparable suspensory injury on course at Badminton CCI****
Walterstown Don (US) April 2018 - Collapsed on Course between fences CIC***
Let it Bee (UK) March 2018 - Collapsed on course between fences Adv
Consensus (USA) Feb 2018 - Collapsed between fences Prelim
LV Hat Trick (NZ) Feb 2018 - Leg fracture on the flat
The Manx Man (USA) Nov 2017 - Rotational fall training level.
Crackerjack (FRA) Oct 2017 - leg fracture on flat /change of footing CCI****
Bob the Builder (POL) Aug 2017 - leg fracture from fall from a fence
Abracadabra (CAN) July 2017- leg fracture from fall from a fence - Pre Taining
Dempsey (CAN) June 2017 - ulna fracture CCI3*
Jaeda (CAN) June 2017 - collapsed on course CCI3*
All Aboard (USA) June 2017 - collapsed on course Intermediate Level
Shanghai Joe (UK) May 2017 - rider fall, horse ran and slipped on pavement and fractured shoulder
TF Kreisler (USA) Oct 2016 - CIC3* Woodside, fell on XC
HHS Cooley (UK) July 2016
Inoui Van Bost (USA) May 2016
Easy Tiger IV (GB) June 2015
Uwald (GB) June 15
Calvin (USA) June 15
Wise Espartico (USA) June 15
Favorit Z (IRE) May 15
Orient Express (NZ) May 15
Dambala (NZ/US) Apr 15
Conahy’s Courage (US) Mar 15
Orto (GB) Sep 14
Wild Lone (Fra) Aug 14
Liberal (Ger) Jun 14
Conair (US) Apr 14
Powderhound (US) Apr 14
Santa’s Keeper (US) Jan 14
Tortuga Bay (US) Dec 13
P’tite Bombe (Ger) Jun 13
Cavalor Telstar (GB) May 13
King Artus (Ger) May 13
Flashpoint (US) Apr 13
Neveah (US) Feb 13
Apache Sauce (GB) Oct 12
Franco Jeas (GB) Sep 12
Heartbreak Hill (GB) Sep 12
Jagganath (GB) Jun 12
Lead The Way (GB) Jun 12
Sugoi (Ire) Jun 12
Sir Roscoe (GB) Apr 12
Chicago II (GB) Mar 12
Willpower (US) Mar 12
The Grasshopper (US) Feb 12
Jack’s Irish Z (US) Feb 12
Greystone’s Harley (US) Jul 11
Spring Along (GB) Mar 11
Dekorum (US) Mar 11
Mandar (US) Mar 11
JB’s Star (US) Oct 10
Barenjager (NZ) Oct 10
Extravagance (US) Sep 10
Roxanna VI (GB) Aug 10
Chauncy (US) Jul 10
Tangleton (NZ) May 10
Desert Island (GB) May 10
Porloe Alvin (GB) Apr 10
Chummin (US) Oct 09
Out To Sea (US) Sep 09
Cavort (GB) Aug 09
Uni Griffon (US) Jul 09
Which Way II (GB) May 09
Catherston Defender (Ire) May 09
Volitation (NZ) May 09
Ease A Blaze (UK) Apr 09
Bailey Wick (US) May 09
Kingpin (US) Apr 09
Double Chocolate (NZ) Apr 09
Call Again Cavalier (GB) Nov 08
Tsunami II (GB) Oct 08
The Templar Aug 08
Task Master (Can) Jun 08
Nullabor (Fra) May 08
Tigger Too (US) May 08
Which Way To May 08
Frodo Baggins (US) Apr 08
The Quiet Man (US) Apr 08
Direct Merger (US) Mar 08
Leprechaun’s Rowdy Boy (US) Mar 08
Task Force (US) Mar 08
Mister Barnabus Nov 07
Monarch’s Aristocrat Oct 07
Eight Saint James Place (US) Jun 07
Icare D’Auzay (GB) May 07
Skwal (GB) May 07
Le Samurai (US) Apr 07
Dutch Twist Apr 07
Lenamores Dreamer Feb 07
Brookland Jun 05

Nothing will be done until there is enough of a push from the constituents to force the USEF/FEI/safety device manufacturers to do something.

At the moment, a majority of riders and professionals are happy to accept how and why the USEF is concerning its safety efforts. And there is enough sponsor money to enable this atmosphere to continue. Riders and professionals are content to accept the word of various corporate sponsors as to the efficacy of their devices without any actual statistically significant data as to efficacy.

In the end, this will get played out in the courts when somebody files a valid law suit where they can show that there has been a “environment” of indifference to rider/horse safety. It will be a hard line to draw but not impossible and since the courts only require 50.00000000000000000000000000001%, quite conceivable.

The USEF, if they were truly interested in developing a safer sport would be looking at every aspect of Eventing, from fence design to how HTs are run, develop specific studies, protocols and practices (e.g. akin to a HACCP) INDEPENDENTLY, only using participants as input to feed to folks who truly understand health and safety.

At least this is my opinion based on my experiences in other highly hazardous or life affecting professions.

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Interesting comment about the “environment” of indifference. I’m thinking about lab safety. IIRC one of the reasons that the UCLA chem professor who has a worker die in his lab was punished to the extent he was had to do with a “culture of indifference” with respect to lab safety and proper training for same that existed for years at UCLA and elsewhere.

Google UCLA lab accident if you’re curious.

Can you put a running list by date of injury or fatality in your first post & update it as needed? I think our sport needs to see the cold hard facts. Disgusting.

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From the sidelines- it seems the accident rate at the top levels is acceptable to most. I do not attend Rolex because I don’t want to see a horse die and a rider seriously injured. Based on data it is more likely than not for that to happen in a given year. However, it sold out this year- so it seems that the probability is within acceptable limits for others or they would also choose not to participate.

If it really mattered to people they would change their actions. Imagine if Rolex attendance dropped by half- that would get people’s attention - but people would miss out on the shopping and fun of a big horse weekend. That doesn’t happen though, so it seems many are okay with the risk - or just minorly bothered with it.

I volunteered years ago to collect radar data for Reed’s speed study. I thought it would make a difference. I’m disappointed but I feel I did what was in my power to make a small difference. If the majority are okay enough with the status quo then it will continue.

This is not meant as a judgement - everyone has their own tolerances it’s just an honest acceptance of what is. There are many, many dangerous sports out there.

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I really can’t understand the cry for more regulation in this sport. Accidents happen, some are tragic, most are not. But no one is forcing these people, or the horses for that matter, to go out and compete at the top levels. Horses don’t make it to the top levels without the skill and heart to do so and the people riding them are aware of the risks. Since the people are aware of the risks you aren’t going to stop them from doing what they love. You are never going to be able to keep the sport of eventing as a competition if you take out the risks, it’s just that simple.

You take a HUGE risk when you jump in your car and drive to the store. There are dozens of safety features and laws to try and keep us safe on the road, yet people die every day from car accidents.

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I was an eventer for years, but quit showing after a bad tumble at an event (concussion and transverse process fracture of C7). I have switched to dressage and coach eventing students.
I still love the sport, I still jump and even school horses over XC jumps, but I have lost the drive and I guess the guts to actually event at upper levels.
It is also a choice based on the fact that I do not like the direction the sport has taken in the past 10 years. I have some issues dealing with the idea that some of my friends, students and beloved equines could potentially get hurt or killed for the sake of a sport.
My daughters were 3YO and 3 months old when I got hurt. And while I was recovering at the hospital, I had plenty of time to reflect on life. And while nothing compares to the high you get on XC, it is not worth it. Not when the stakes are so high.

I have some issues to believe that in 2015 there isn’t any solutions out there to make this sport safer. I refuse to accept that we can not come up with engineering models to improve the jump construction and make them safer. Come on…
My daughter (just turned 10) has started eventing on her pony, and I’m thrilled to watch her go at the lower levels. But as she grows up, she will have to pick a different discipline, I refuse to take a chance and watch her ride at Prelim’ and up, not unless something drastic happens. I don’t want my kid to become a post on EN and the COTH and just turn into an other fatality. No thank you.

[QUOTE=kmartin85;8156167]

You take a HUGE risk when you jump in your car and drive to the store. There are dozens of safety features and laws to try and keep us safe on the road, yet people die every day from car accidents.[/QUOTE]

right…except BILLIONS are spent on regulating the safety of automobiles, roadways, driver education - etc. There are provincial (State) and federal laws around driving. There is a HUGE effort to reduce auto accidents. There is 0 effort now it seems to reduce eventing injuries. I do not buy it is a dangerous sport so deal with it mentality. It does not have to be THIS dangerous.

I can update the original posts with 2015 information, and I will post the link to rider and horse deaths from the last 15 years also.

When did Horse Trials start running dressage/sj/xc more often then dressage xc/sj? I am wondering if this plays into things more than thought before.

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I think the issue is that we breed more and more athletic horses, people are becoming better and better riders, we have access to better care and ways to keep our horses more comfortable and sound. So overall the sport is becoming more and more competitive. People have been complaining that dressage is more and more important and so in order to counter balance the weight of the dressage in the final results, XC courses have become more and more technical.
We do not call them jumps anymore, we call them questions. The speed have been staying the same, but the jumps require horses and riders to adjust more and to be more focused, the littlest mistakes have big consequences. So we have reduced the margin of error.
So I think that as the sport evolves and keeps going in the same direction, there will be more traps being built in order to trick the horses or to test the riders’ ability and the flip side of that is that the ones that don’t solve the questions flawlessly will pay the price by getting hurt or killed.
If you look at the courses from 30 years ago or even 20 years ago, this is not the same sport.
Now to be honest, I do not know what the answer is to fix it…

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[QUOTE=Jealoushe;8156198]right…except BILLIONS are spent on regulating the safety of automobiles, roadways, driver education - etc. There are provincial (State) and federal laws around driving. There is a HUGE effort to reduce auto accidents. There is 0 effort now it seems to reduce eventing injuries. I do not buy it is a dangerous sport so deal with it mentality. It does not have to be THIS dangerous.

I can update the original posts with 2015 information, and I will post the link to rider and horse deaths from the last 15 years also.

When did Horse Trials start running dressage/sj/xc more often then dressage xc/sj? I am wondering if this plays into things more than thought before.[/QUOTE]

I guess this is where we will have to agree to disagree - I don’t see the sport as dangerous in the same sense you do. I don’t consider Eventing any more dangerous than any other sport that involves high levels of risk and skill.

What do you propose the Eventing community do to lower these risks? Should we make the jumps smaller, take out the XC phase all together? I don’t see a viable solution because you lose the heart of the sport when you change it from what it is now. I don’t think the jumps are too big or that the horses are pushed too hard or too fast. I think there are unfortunate accidents, that’s all.

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[QUOTE=kmartin85;8156223]I guess this is where we will have to agree to disagree - I don’t see the sport as dangerous in the same sense you do. I don’t consider Eventing any more dangerous than any other sport that involves high levels of risk and skill.

What do you propose the Eventing community do to lower these risks? Should we make the jumps smaller, take out the XC phase all together? I don’t see a viable solution because you lose the heart of the sport when you change it from what it is now. I don’t think the jumps are too big or that the horses are pushed too hard or too fast. I think there are unfortunate accidents, that’s all.[/QUOTE]

Then you have your head in the sand and are part of the problem. No one is suggesting smaller jumps or easier courses. But I guess if you think a horse or rider dead a month is OK as long eventing doesn’t change because you like it the way it is, then you really have no place in this thread.

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I don’t recall where I stated that lives do not matter. I believe that every life matters, but I also believe that grown adults have the right to chose how to live their life. If a grown adult wants to risk their life in the sport of Eventing, then so be it, who am I to tell another person what they should or shouldn’t do. (I am not speaking of children, that is an entirely different can of worms)

But, besides pointing out a problem, what is it you are proposing?

I think safety should be an ongoing issue. I am a supporter of the frangible pin technology but look at the outcry on this board over a penalty. Personally I think there is no credible leadership in the sport at the FEI or USEA. PRO only seems to be interested in the financial side of things.

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I really don’t agree with a “culture of indifference” either, to be honest. We DO have injuries and fatalities in this sport, but it IS a high risk sport.

With the increasing access to instant information and social media it seems we are hearing about this all the time but I do not believe the rate of injury is increasing over historical levels. If anything, from the data I’ve seen (i don’t remember where i saw this but i did see some statistics) it is declining.

Can we be safer? Sure. Is the sky falling right now? No, IMO.

I can’t help but wonder if these sorts of threads exist in the forums for other extreme sports like kayaking, downhill skiing, rock climbing, etc. When two people get hurt two weeks in a row skiing do we demand safer slopes, or do we wonder if that slope was within the capabilities of the rider who was attempting it?

WRT the timeline of doing stadium or cross country last. I just read an event report in the COTH magazine where two BNT were quoted as saying they preferred stadium first.

Just looked it up – March 30 issue, page 100, sidebar on Notable Absences. And it was Phillip Dutton and Boyd Martin

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I don’t think that is fair. Last I checked, this was a discussion forum. I don’t think its fair to decide who should or should not get to join the discussion based on whether they happen to agree with your point of view. kmartin85 has his own perspective, and it also probably helps explain why more may not be done - i.e. that there are riders who are ok with the current risk levels at the upper levels.

Personally, I don’t really agree - I think the sport should continue to research and take steps to try to keep the numbers of incidents as low as possible. I do agree, however, that the sport will always have some unfortunate accidents.

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I think it would also be interesting to see the statistics of how many upper level horses are euthanized due to accidents that happen when not under saddle. It seems we hear of those almost just as often. Whether it’s the horse who casts himself in the stall, or the horse that took a bad step in the pasture. The possibility of a life threatening injury happening is not put away with the tack. It’s a possibility that exists all the time with horses.

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oh I didn’t say they shouldn’t join the discussion, just sayin’ why join if all you have to contribute is the same ol’ “eventing is dangerous” comment. It isn’t helpful.

manah…are you sure there isn’t an increase? 5 riders in the last year and 5 horses, 2 more just over a year. Two falls with serious injuries in the last few weeks that easily could be deaths. Is 5 rider deaths in a year not considered the sky falling?

Maybe I am just too soft for this anymore.

Fittobetied - I guess I am not proposing anything, just hoping to keep the discussion happening so that these issues won’t be forgotten. I am not a research scientist, I don’t know where to begin. But I sure as hell will be one of the biggest supporters of creating ideas that will improve the safety of our sport. Real ideas, not ideas like making air vests mandatory.

We’ve lost too many in our sport…it needs to stop. At the very least, effort needs to be made.

[QUOTE=kmartin85;8156167]I really can’t understand the cry for more regulation in this sport. Accidents happen, some are tragic, most are not. But no one is forcing these people, or the horses for that matter, to go out and compete at the top levels. Horses don’t make it to the top levels without the skill and heart to do so and the people riding them are aware of the risks. Since the people are aware of the risks you aren’t going to stop them from doing what they love. You are never going to be able to keep the sport of eventing as a competition if you take out the risks, it’s just that simple.

You take a HUGE risk when you jump in your car and drive to the store. There are dozens of safety features and laws to try and keep us safe on the road, yet people die every day from car accidents.[/QUOTE]
I think the risk of driving to the store is much less than going a round at the upper levels, but that is really an apples to oranges comparison.

One point you made that struck me was this “or the horses” in regards to competing. Now I can agree that if human beings want to do silly things that gets themselves killed, have at it and we’ll save a spot for a Darwin award. However, it is disingenuous to lump horses in that same thought for if you asked a horse whether they want to perform in a high risk environment, the answer would be no.

We are forcing our mounts to enter into a high risk environment and in doing so, we should be responsible to ensure that their care and welfare is the utmost importance to us; to the point where we should be saying “no, we wont do that because it is not safe for my partner”.

Since the roots of this sport was about endurance, there are ways to test that without the need to expose a horse to conditions that can result in its injury or death. Expand the distance while making jumps less trappy, remove watches and lessen the number of complex fences so a rider’s score is determined on how well they feel a pace and manage the horse. The idea of getting away from winning on dressage should not be done at the expense of a horse or rider.

Eventing is not a survival game, it is (or should be) a test of the bond one has with a horse, the trust between the two minds, the physical fitness, and the agility of mind and body. I can accept a horse dying on course from natural causes (if not known before), but it is unacceptable to see horses flip over their back and get put down when humans have the ability to be smart enough to stop that from happening.

Really, with your viewpoint, let’s have the rider get rid of the airvest, the chest protector, and the helmet, because knowing the risk, someone will go out and prove Darwin right. Fine by me, but don’t take you horse along for the ride, he or she does not deserve that type of care.

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not the same thing at all, since WE are the one designing the courses and asking our horses to complete them.