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Safer is relative. There will be falls as long as there are those riding. Add in elements of speed and jumping and they increase. You can make the fall less likely to cause fatal I jury but you won't eliminate the fall or some level of inury. Without experience and riding ability along with the quickness of mind to judge several factors at once in quick succession at speed, a horse with ability and drive not to mention an independent mind you are an accident waiting to happen.

There is also a company that applies risk scores to horse and rider based on several factors.

IMO the later you come to riding the lower your chances of successfully competing in many disciplines. Not to say there aren't exceptions but when looking at eventing and the inherent risk already there does one want to add risk factors?
 

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Sorry interrupted.

There are mims clips for wide jumps, tables and corners. I've seen video of them working. I've also seen studies showing that they can cause a fall where without the horse would have stumbled and recovered. Course design also factors in heavily.
 

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I think @QtrBel is correct, the older you come to riding, or if you're still struggling with basic elements after many years, the less likely you are to be able to compete in more demanding disciplines.

I've seen the results of inexperienced riders who thought that they'd manage hunter trials and eventing.

Eventing will never be safe, no matter how much we try to reduce the risks as it's at the dangerous end of a dangerous sport. I've had a rotational fall and too many careless ones as well, and I know that we were very lucky to walk away from them.

Both horse and rider need exceptional talent, courage, luck and support to succeed. It was something I did for 'fun', because my friends were going to a competition, or we were practicing at the yard. That level of commitment was enough to keep me relatively safe around an average course. The belief that I was indestructible got me the rest of the way and out of trouble at many fences. That disappeared in my twenties and with it the desire to put myself at extra risk.

This is an old, scratched, photo from the 80s. If I'd my time again I'd like to have another go, but I doubt that there's anything in this world could get me to do it at my age.

1105308
 

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Have the introduction of frangible pins not made XC any safer at all? I am aware that the risks still remain as they can only be used on certain types of jumps and rotational falls are still a possibility but I did read that XC has become safer since they introduced frangible pins.
I'm sure they have helped make the event "safer" in some aspects, but what I think would make an event safer, IMO, would be decreasing the jumping efforts required, especially for the higher levels. Cross country used to emphasize distance over complicated combinations and huge, hard to read jumps.

Let's look at the Badminton Horse Trials - the course is around 4 to 4.2 miles with around 30-35 jumps (more jumps considering combinations too!). The fences are around 1.3 meters.

In 2019, around 80 riders competed in the trial, only 56 completed the entire event. 3 withdrew after cross country, 4 were eliminated on cross country, 15 retired during cross country. Those stats aren't positive too me.

This isn't to say I am not working to re-enter the eventing world, I love watching the sport and would love to actually compete again - but I am not striving to work through the levels, until the courses are made safer, and the safety of horse and rider are prioritized.
 

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Discussion Starter #25 (Edited)
I'm sure they have helped make the event "safer" in some aspects, but what I think would make an event safer, IMO, would be decreasing the jumping efforts required, especially for the higher levels. Cross country used to emphasize distance over complicated combinations and huge, hard to read jumps.

Let's look at the Badminton Horse Trials - the course is around 4 to 4.2 miles with around 30-35 jumps (more jumps considering combinations too!). The fences are around 1.3 meters.

In 2019, around 80 riders competed in the trial, only 56 completed the entire event. 3 withdrew after cross country, 4 were eliminated on cross country, 15 retired during cross country. Those stats aren't positive too me.

This isn't to say I am not working to re-enter the eventing world, I love watching the sport and would love to actually compete again - but I am not striving to work through the levels, until the courses are made safer, and the safety of horse and rider are prioritized.
But is there actually a possibility of it becoming safer in the future or will it just keep getting harder? I talked to my parents about it and they agree that it’s currently way too dangerous for both horse and rider and to continue doing showjumping until eventing is made safer but I really don’t know weather it will become more safer in the future and I feel like I’m just waiting for something that won’t happen.
 

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The question is if it’s too dangerous for YOU. It is an objectively dangerous sport. If there was a dead soccer player every few months, there would be a public uproar (literally - go through back issues of Horse and Hound - it’s almost without fail an eventer - every few months). For some reason, deaths are acceptable in Eventing. But you are the only person that can make a decision about your own level of comfort regarding danger. A lot of people die riding motorcycles but, still, a lot of people deem it an acceptable level of risk for themselves. I don’t judge those people (except in cases when they leave small children behind - they didn’t ask to be born). Evening is an edge case for me because those horses don’t have a choice either and they get killed even more often than riders. I’m leaning towards it not being ethical.
 

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As someone who Fox Hunted all my life and evented at the lower levels, I do not see that eventing is particularly more dangerous if ridden correctly.

There was a spate of several riders being killed on the cc phase a while back. These were rotational falls and much analysis was done over them all.

Majority of these falls were because the riders were going to fast. Another major factor was the saddles being used. These were deep seated, thick knee and thigh rolls that held the rider in place. Now if you look at the saddles used they are more of the old fashioned type, flat seats and minimal knee rolls, thus a rider can be 'propelled' from the saddle.

With the top events there were originally five phases, roads and tracks, steeplechase, more roads and tracks, cross country and finally a gallop. The latter was dropped back in the early 60s. To compete and compete this a horse (and rider) had to be exceedingly fit.

Now with the shorter version horses have to be fit but, I often think the horses are over keen when starting the cross country, with the work they had to do prior they were more settled.

Certainly the modern pins and rails being roped rather than bolted have made things safer.
There are risks, perhaps more so than in the early days. More technical fences, for sure. One time a course could be ridden at a steady gallop, now riders are having to take a pull and steady right down.

There is, for me, nothing like taking on a big fence at speed, on a good horse and the thrill of jumping it well!
 

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But is there actually a possibility of it becoming safer in the future or will it just keep getting harder? I talked to my parents about it and they agree that it’s currently way too dangerous for both horse and rider and to continue doing showjumping until eventing is made safer but I really don’t know weather it will become more safer in the future and I feel like I’m just waiting for something that won’t happen.
I don't believe it is inherently much more dangerous at lower levels - especially if you as a rider ride responsibly. Ultimately, failures/breakdowns/accidents come down to chance, or fall on the rider's shoulders.

Has your horse fallen over a 2'7" fence in show jumping? That's the fence height starting at beginner novice. Very, very few fatal falls happen at these lower levels, except for when the stars align and a traumatic accident happens. A rider screwing up the striding to this low of a fence probably won't cause a rotational fall, or a fall at all.

How to mitigate having a fall happen yourself...
1. Condition your horse beyond the level you want to compete, and ensure he/she won't be dangerously tired during a xc course.
2. Condition yourself to keep yourself from hindering your horse if you get tired and quit using your body effectively.
3. Take lessons with qualified, experienced instructors that prioritize the horses well-being over a ribbon.
4. Know when to call it quits - whether the footing is too bad, your horse is tiring too quickly, others are having the same accident at the same fence, etc etc.
5. Prepare your horse, and build his/her confidence to confidently ride up to and over the fences.

It's ultimately up to your parents whether or not you pursue eventing, if they are the ones paying for your horse and instructors, but I don't think you should take it off of the table due to the breakdowns and huge accidents that happen at Olympic level. Why don't you find a group of people to go xc schooling with and see how you feel? Even if you don't decide to pursue it, schooling xc is great for any horse that jumps.
 

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When you are cross-country, you are required to wear a protective vest, and have your heath info on your arm. Now days, especially at larger shows, the jumps are made to fall if your horse hits them hard. I would recommend doing a smaller recognized show, as the safety standards are higher then unrecognized shows.
 

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I agree with everyone else as well. If you are riding smart, then it is not much more dangerous then jumping in the arena. Your horse is more likely to spook or get exited though. (that's why you wear a vest and stuff!) If you are more experienced, then this should not be a problem.
 

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ANY jumping involves greater risk. Statistics vary but anywhere from 10 times to 40 times greater risk of head injury. Good instruction and riding trained horses can reduce some of the risk. At the highest levels of competition, by definition, human and horse will be pushed to the limit of their ability. And sometimes beyond. How much risk is acceptable is a very personal choice. Something for you are your parents to discuss and decide.

Helmets and vests help reduce the risk, but they cannot fully reduce it down to flat riding. Jumping with horses is just more dangerous.
 

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ANY jumping involves greater risk. Statistics vary but anywhere from 10 times to 40 times greater risk of head injury. Good instruction and riding trained horses can reduce some of the risk. At the highest levels of competition, by definition, human and horse will be pushed to the limit of their ability. And sometimes beyond. How much risk is acceptable is a very personal choice. Something for you are your parents to discuss and decide.

Helmets and vests help reduce the risk, but they cannot fully reduce it down to flat riding. Jumping with horses is just more dangerous.
I agree
 
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