A new standard for frangible/deformable cross-country fences has been endorsed by the FEI Eventing committee.
The updated standard is the result of six months of work initiated by the Eventing Frangible Device Working Group, which included slow-motion review of footage of fences being jumped at many events, as well as broad testing performed by British Eventing and MIM at Chalmers University (SWE), and the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).
As of January 1, 2021, all newly manufactured devices must comply with the Updated Standard V2. Devices manufactured according to the previous standard specifications can be used until December 31, 2021.
The Eventing Frangible Device Working Group comprised Dave Vos, Geoff Sinclair, Mark Phillips and Jonathan Clissold.
The updated standard includes the introduction of a 40kg kettlebell pendulum test to better represent a ‘hanging leg’ impact scenario to reproduce severe impact on fence with some leading to rotational falls which frangible fences should help mitigate.
There is also the addition of requirements for front and back rails of activation energies, i.e. pendulum impact energies at and above which the fence shall activate. The energies proposed have been developed by Dave Vos, based on the conservation of (after contact) energy and angular momentum with input parameters, such as jump speeds, heights, flight duration, and corroborating measurements from event video data.
“The Updated Standard V2 is more reliable and the testing is easier to set up in order to encourage new ideas and will hopefully accelerate new developments for frangible fence devices,” eventing committee chairman David O’Connor said.
“It is important to note that realistic infield assessment to ensure fences don’t break too easily has been strongly debated and agreed with the Frangible Working Group understanding the importance of balancing safety with true cross-country.”