Cross-country fences at all international eventing competitions will use Swedish-made MIMclip frangible technology following the introduction of new FEI rules from January 1.
Frangible devices allow cross-country fences to collapse under both forward and upward pressure and are designed to prevent rotational falls, which can cause serious injuries to horses and riders. Several riders in recent years have lost their lives in such falls.
MIMclip clips are, to date, the only frangible devices to pass the new FEI testing standards. Six varieties of the devices will be used at levels from CCI1* to CCI5* on cross-country jumps made after January 1 which can be built as frangible fences.
There are clip systems for walls, oxers and post and rails, and a new yellow MIMclip for table fences, and fences jumped at an angle, such as corners. The yellow clip releases when triggered with a lower amount of force than the traditional red MIMclips.
MIMclips are the brainchild of Swedish inventor Mats Björnetun, whose company MIM Construction AB tests and manufactures safety devices for many well-known car makers.
His passion for eventing started in the early 1990s, when he became an event organiser, and led to his realisation that he had the expertise and the facilities to help the sport become safer and reduce the risk of rotational falls of horse and rider.
MIMclips have been in use at international horse trials around the world for more than 10 years, and during that time their use has been recommended by the FEI, but their use on certain types of fences is now mandatory.
FEI Eventing Risk Management Group chairman Geoff Sinclair said MIM Construction had worked closely with the Risk Management Group and the two FEI-approved inspection authorities, the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.
The FEI is releasing instructions for the fitting of MIMclips, which are easy to replace by course officials, fence-builders and jump judges.
“The correct frangible devices, used and fitted correctly, will make a big impact on the sport; it has been hard to find something that works well with corner fences and angled fences, and MIM has come up with something,” Sinclair said.
“An enormous amount of effort has been put into this.”
Former world No.1 eventing rider and nine-time five-star winner Andrew Nicholson voiced his approval of the technology. He said the fact that the MIMclips activated only when needed was important for the integrity of the sport.
“The people at MIM have shown they have the know-how and the technology and are open to ideas; they listen to people within the sport and clearly work hard at producing the technology the sport needs as it develops.”
The clips will soon be available for purchase from the company’s website, mimclip.mimsafe.com.