Rider Falls Will Result in Elimination Under New British Eventing Rule

Photo by Kate Samuels.

British Eventing has implemented a new rule eliminating any rider who suffers a fall during competition. 

This change comes after continued following of concussion research and recommendations from healthcare professionals, BE Medical Officers, and organizers and officials.  It will be enforced for the 2018 season, which begins March 3, 2018.

“Post fall assessment of riders may require a thorough physical, mental competence and neurological assessment,” Judith Johnson, BE Chief Medical Officer, said in a statement.

“This is a time consuming process may need to be repeated after a period of time in order to make a clinical decision whether that rider is fit to compete again that day. We have a duty of care to our members which, in the light of recent guidelines on concussion management, has led to this rule change.”

This update replaces the current rules allowing riders to continue on after a fall in any phase. In dressage, a rider would not be eliminated and only, “penalised by the effect of the fall on the execution of the movement concerned and in the collective mark.”

As part of an earlier 2018 rule change, after a fall in show jumping, the clock would be stopped, allowing the rider to remount and incur a six second time penalty. On cross country, riders would be allowed to remount only once they were evaluated by onsite medics.

“Whilst every effort has been made to enable a rider to continue after a fall in a safe manner, BE and event organisers have worked incredibly hard to provide standards of safety and medical provision for all BE events that are as high as possible and this rule change is essential to ensure that rider safety is maintained,” said BE National Safety Officer Jonathan Clissold.

British Eventing rules now fall in line with FEI and USEF rules regarding the rider falls in the show jumping and cross country tests for Training level and above.

Here are the key points as outlined by BE:

  • Riders who fall during their dressage test or anywhere on course in the show jumping or cross country phases will be eliminated and unable to continue.
  • Riders who fall in the warm up of any phase or before passing through the start of the show jumping or cross country must be checked by a doctor before continuing.
  • Multiple horse riders who fall off must undergo a fit to ride assessment carried out by the event doctor before being allowed to ride subsequent horses.
  • A competitor who falls at any stage of the competition must be checked by the event doctor before continuing or leaving site. It is the responsibility of the competitor to ensure compliance with these rules.

[Important change to rider falls and medical checks]