June 7, 2008

A rule change pertaining to horse and rider safety while on the cross-country phase of horse trials events will be implemented in time for the Olympics.

The new rule states that both horses and riders will be eliminated after one fall at a fence on the cross-country and in the jumping test. According to the rules currently in place, horses are eliminated after a first fall and riders after a second fall.

The International Olympic Committee and the FEI Bureau approved the rule change, which was proposed by the FEI Eventing Committee and Safety Sub-Committee. The change will apply to all events as of August 1.

The FEI said the reason for the change is medical, "given the difficulty to evaluate the gravity of a fall which can result in a mild concussion. A subsequent lapse in judgment exacerbated by a concussion could result in serious injury."