US ‘unwilling to be complacent’ over cross-country safety

© Mike Bain
© Mike Bain

US eventing has formed a new task force to explore cross-country obstacle construction and design safety.

United States Eventing Association (USEA) President Diane Pitts announced the new task force this week, saying that the improvement of safety in the sport is the primary concern.

The announcement comes after the deaths of two riders in cross-country falls at events in Germany and Great Britain earlier this month.

The USEA, the United States Equestrian Federation, the FEI and the sport as a whole had made strides in the past two decades to address the safety of both horses and riders, but USEA CEO Jo Whitehouse said that while much had been done to better protect horses and riders, the USEA“ is unwilling to be complacent”.

“We must do all that we can to make this sport as safe as possible, and this task force is yet another step toward that continued goal,” she said.

Diane Pitts.
Diane Pitts. © USEA/Leslie Threlkeld

Task force members include upper level riders Jonathan Holling, Doug Payne, Lesley Grant-Law, Jay Hambly, and Tremaine Cooper, with the latter two also being course designers; Sarah Broussard, a paramedic and organiser of Montana’s Rebecca Farm horse trials; TD and steward Malcolm Hook; and veterinarian Kathleen Becker.

The task force will work directly with Jo Whitehouse, and will be advised by US Team Chef d’ Equipe David O’Connor.

USEA members are encouraged to contact the task force chairs with suggestions with the subject “Course Design.”

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