Eventing Ireland is making a big statement when it comes to improving the safety and welfare of horses and riders by partnering with EquiRatings to track the likelihood of horses and riders incurring penalties, elimination and falls on cross country — and potentially restrict them from competing at a certain level as a result.
EN readers are familiar with EquiRatings’ top notch eventing data and analysis, and now founders Sam Watson and Diarm Byrne have channeled the power of their extensive international database to create a new safety tracking system called the EquiRatings Quality Index (ERQI).
EquiRatings has analyzed more than 150,000 results worldwide across all levels of competition, with the output showing a strong correlation between a low ERQI and the likelihood of cross country penalties, elimination and falls. The ERQI system highlights combinations that show signs of poor form at a particular level.
Diarm, in speaking to EN today, said, “The ERQI system uses advanced data analysis as an additional tool to identify and manage risk in the cross country phase. We specialize in data analysis in the sport of eventing, and we hope this tool can play an important role for federations around the world in their policies and rules around this phase.”
Eventing Ireland will incorporate the ERQI system into its entry process starting with the 2016 season. For the first year the system is in place, riders will see a traffic light system with a green, amber or red ERQI when they enter an Eventing Ireland competition. If a horse and rider show a prolonged period of poor form at a certain level, then the system will flag them with a red ERQI, requiring them to enter a lower level.
ERQI red zone combinations typically show only one clear on cross country in the past five to 10 attempts. Eventing Ireland’s rider fall rate in EI is 1.5%, but red zone riders have a fall rate almost three times higher at 4.3%. While rider downgrading is not new to Eventing Ireland, using the ERQI system will automate the process and more quickly highlight combinations that are having problems at a certain level.
Georgia Stubington, Eventing Ireland’s Vice Chairman, said the organization hopes to incorporate additional data analysis into its High Performance program in the future, but for now their focus is firmly on improving safety for their horses and riders.
“This is the most exciting project I have worked on in my time as Chairman of EI,” Georgia said. “I think this takes Eventing Ireland into the top leagues of national governing bodies who have been using data analysis to promote high performance for some time. I think that aspect of our work with EquiRatings will come in the future but now we are concentrating on safety. Eventing is a risk sport and we will never eliminate all risk but this is a huge step forward into today’s digital world.”
Diarm also commented: “This sport has to acknowledge, assess and ultimately manage its risk. Horse welfare has to be at the forefront of all decision making. The ERQI has revolutionized how these key issues are managed and monitored.”
EN fully supports harnessing the power of technology to further advancements in eventing safety, and we’re thrilled to see that Eventing Ireland is prioritizing safety this season by using the EquiRatings Quality Index. We hope the ERQI system will succeed in lowering the rates of both horse and rider falls, as well as help riders make more informed decisions when it comes to choosing which level to enter.
What do you think of the EquiRatings Quality Index, EN? Is this a system you’d like to see other national governing bodies implement? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments below.