July 21, 2008

The Canadian Eventing Committee has approved new eventing safety rules and new measures to prevent horse abuse and dangerous cross-country riding.

From August 1, a rider who fall on the cross-country course or on the show jumping course will be eliminated, and those who have their third cross-country refusal will also be eliminated. Competitors will be required to leave the course after elimination.

"These are important rule changes that must be made immediately," said Peter Gray, Chair of the newly formed Eventing Safety Committee. "While the committee members fully understand and appreciate that some competitors may be frustrated by these modifications, they strongly believe the changes are necessary and will help to improve the overall safety of the sport."

The Canadian Eventing Committee also adopted the introduction of cross-country monitoring system for dangerous riding also proposed by the Safety Committee. An official can stop a rider on the cross-country course for dangerous riding, riding an exhausted horse, excessive pressing of a tired horse, riding an obviously lame horse, excessive use of the whip and/or spurs or riding in an unsafe way. A minimum of three officials is recommended.

"As the national governing body for equestrianism, our first duty is to the safety and welfare of Canadian horses and riders," said Akaash Maharaj, CEO of Equine Canada. "These changes will preserve the excitement of eventing, while upholding ethical conduct and reducing unnecessary risks to our equine and human athletes."