FEI Eventing Risk Management Summit Addresses Next Steps for Safety

Photo courtesy of ERA International Photo courtesy of ERA International

The FEI will put forward additional recommendations to bolster safety in eventing following last weekend’s Eventing Risk Management Summit held at Tattersalls in Ireland. The summit invited judges, trainers, athletes, technical delegates, risk management and technology experts, and National Safety Officers from 22 different countries; top course designers also attended.

David O’Connor, who chaired the summit, said the three-day event made “great strides forward” and exceeded his expectations. “To have such a wealth of experience and knowledge brought together to present, discuss and debate ideas, combined with an outside technical perspective, covering the fundamental role of data analysis and statistics, is a crucial step,” he said.

“The level of conversation was extremely high; everyone involved is fully committed to taking risk management to a continued and improved level, and I believe we are making great strides forward in minimizing risk.”

David moderated presentations and discussions to address topics in safety from the grassroots to the top level of the sport, including coaching, course design, fence construction, the athlete perspective, and the current and future roles of data and statistical analysis.

Andrew Nicholson and Chris Bartle, recently named the new coach for Great Britain, both gave presentations. Sam Watson and Diarm Byrne of EquiRatings led a discussion on the collection, use and communication of data and took the delegation through the EquiRatings Quality Index, which uses data to analyze and monitor athlete progression through the levels.

The course designers for the last three Olympic Games all attended — Pierre Michelet (Rio 2016), Sue Benson (London 2012) and Mike Etherington-Smith (Beijing 2008) — along with Ian Stark, who designed the track for the 2015 FEI European Championships at Blair Castle, Capt. Mark Phillips and Giuseppe Della Chiesa (ITA), who chairs the FEI Eventing Committee.

FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said the summit, which was organized as one the recommendations from the independent audit conducted last year by Charles Barnett, was “another important step in our work on minimizing risk.”

“The expert input of delegates from 22 nations around the world demonstrates the united aim of the FEI and the worldwide eventing community to make the sport as safe as possible for both our human and equine athletes,” she said. “We look forward to presenting and discussing recommendations of the Risk Management Steering Group at the Sports Forum in April.”

Once finalized by the Risk Management Steering Group, the recommendations from the summit will go forward to the FEI Eventing Committee. Recommendations will then be open for public discussion at the 2017 FEI Sports Forum on April 10-11 before being presented to the FEI Bureau at the 2017 General Assembly on November 18-21.

The FEI Eventing Risk Management Steering Group is made up of the following members:

  • David O’Connor (Chair), former FEI Bureau Member and Olympic eventing gold medalist in Sydney 2000
  • Mike Etherington-Smith (GBR), international cross country course designer and equestrian consultant
  • Daisy Berkeley (GBR), FEI Eventing athlete representative and international athlete
  • Rob Stevenson (CAN), former international athlete, cardiologist and Canadian National Safety Officer
  • Geoff Sinclair (AUS), FEI Eventing Technical Delegate and former President of the Australian Equestrian Federation
  • Staffan Lidbeck (SWE), FEI veterinarian and Swedish Eventing team coach
  • Laurent Bousquet (FRA), international eventing athlete and coach of the Japanese equestrian team
  • Philine Ganders (GER), FEI Level 3 Eventing Steward and member of the German National Federation

Full details on the FEI’s risk management work for eventing can be found on the FEI website at this link.

What improvements in regards to safety do you hope might come out of the FEI Eventing Risk Management Summit, EN? Discuss in the comments below.