Providing for the safety of both horse and rider in the sport of eventing is one of the primary goals of the USEA, and education is vital to the achievement that goal. The purpose of this page is to keep our members apprised of the very latest developments in safety. See the latest news on the right hand side of the page.
For years, the USEA has taken the lead when it comes to providing education about all aspects of training and competing safely in eventing. Below are just some of the ways that the USEA is spearheading safety in the sport:
Rules and Regulations for Horse and Rider Safety
The USEA, in collaboration with the USEF Eventing Committee (formerly the USEF Eventing Technical Committee), has proposed many of the safety rules now in place at competitions such as:
- A dedicated position of Safety Coordinator at competitions with no duties outside of monitoring the safety of competitors
- Certification of Safety Coordinators by the USEA
- Cross-country obstacle design guidelines for course designers/course builders
- Specific qualifications for progressing up the levels of competition
- The wearing of the highest standards in helmets and recommendations regarding wearing the highest standards of safety vests
- Loss of establishment of those qualifications necessitating dropping down a level in order to re-qualify
- "Return to Play" rule
- Dangerous riding penalties
- Mandating that trained emergency and medical personell are present at all USEA-sanctioned competitions.
The USEA has and continues to financially support safety and horse welfare studies. Learn more about the research studies here.
- Statistical research regarding cross-country safety over the past several years
- Equine Research Initiative with Morris Animal Foundation
- USEA Collapsible Fence Study including Rotational Fall Analysis
- The Equine Cardiovascular/Pulmonary Study
- The development and testing of new frangible technologies
- The GPS Speed and Motion Study
- The USEA Equine Physiology Study prior to the '96 Atlanta Olympics - (More info here) and (USEA Education Committee's notes on the effect of heat and humidity on the event horse)
Certified Instructors for Eventing
- Since 1999, the USEA Instructor’s Certification Program (ICP) has certified a total of about 300 instructors across the United States and five internationally, all of whom have been trained to teach safe riding techniques.
- ICP-certified instructors are put through a rigorous training and education process to ensure that they can safely and effectively instruct students. Instructors are certified for different levels of instruction, depending on experience.
- Instructors must attend workshops, assessments, and once certified, continuing education is crucial in keeping instructors up to date on safety and training information.
Training and Education for Eventing Officials and Course Designers
- Our rigorous Training Program for Eventing Officials (TPEO) ensures that officials are absolute experts in the field of safety at competitions. Licensing for officials takes place through the USEF.
- This also provides event organizers with a list of the very best judges, technical delegates, and course designers from which to choose to officiate at their events.
- The Course Advisors Program employs FEI Course Designers to review and submit a detail report on the condition of the obstacles, footing, distances, the appropriateness for the level and, any necessary changes. Since its inception, the Course Advisor Program has dramatically improved the quality and standardization of cross-country courses throughout the country.
- Educational seminars for course designers/course builders.
- The creation of a Cross-Country Safety Task Force to explore course and obstacle design.
- Expansion of the USEA Safety Committee into three subcommittees focusing on Cross-Country Safety, Equine Safety and Welfare, as well as Rider Safety. Experts from inside and outside of the sport have been tapped to serve on these groups.
- Promotion of the USEF Frangible Technology Program
- Rider representatives appointed at each event to report the riders' view of the courses.
- In 2013, the USEA set an example for all other individual U.S. equestrian sports organizations by dedicating at least $1 of every entry towards equine research.
- ImPACT testing conducted by Dr. Sills, a neurosurgeon at Vanderbilt University and the Vanderbilt Sports Concussion Center, at the USEA Annual Meeting.
- Resources regarding veterinary care for horses through an educational partnership between the USEA, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, ISELP, and Capitol Productions TV.
- Maintains resources regarding concussion and head trauma, with multiple safety and horse/rider health seminars at the USEA Annual Meeting each year, available to all attendees.
- Certifies and endorses clinics across the country to promote safe riding and education of horse and rider.