Three-Day Eventing Riders Urged to Slow Down

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More cross-country deaths have lead Captain Mark Phillips to urge riding safely

April 23, 2008–The tragic news that two more riders have died on cross-country courses, Franz Graf in Austria on April 6 and Karen Rodgers on April 20 in Ireland, has prompted Captain Mark Phillips, who heads the U.S. Three-Day Eventing Team, to plead with riders to “forget the clock and ride fences with the safety of their horses and themselves in mind.” Phillips expressed his concern over all the recent accidents and, while acknowledging the complexity of the issues facing the sport, begged riders at all levels of the sport to slow down where necessary, treat cross-country fences with respect, and think safety first. Click here to read his full comments on the USEA website.

 Phillips also urged the USEA to publish online a letter received from Mike Etherington-Smith, sport director, British Eventing and an FEI course designer. In the letter, Etherington-Smith shares Phillips’ concerns and states, “… we have lost some of the skills necessary for riding cross-country courses. … How often do we see people going too fast into certain types of fences without giving their horses the chance to understand what they’re being asked to jump? … It seems that there is an obsession with speed, which there should not be. … Fences need respecting and this has to be understood.”  

10 COMMENTS

  1. Yes,slowing down can most DEFINATELY drop the death rate in these riders..Going Fast…and then falling is going to give you greater injuries then if you go Slow…the impact…it all makes a difference!SLOWWWWWWWWWWWW DOWN!

  2. Wow, I totally agree with Philips. Though I’m not too knowledgable about the sport that totally makes sense! I think people should really listent to this, and if you don’t, well sit down and think about if you love your sport!

  3. lets face it the only way that can happen is to take the ” time” part out of it..to tell them to slow down and still have it that the best time wins is ..well full of it…never going to happen…they need to “really ” make a stand…not just what they think people want to hear…when if you go, or show in these events ..you know what it is..fastest clear round wins…duh!

  4. lets face it the only way that can happen is to take the ” time” part out of it..to tell them to slow down and still have it that the best time wins is ..well full of it…never going to happen…they need to “really ” make a stand…not just what they think people want to hear…when if you go, or show in these events ..you know what it is..fastest clear round wins…duh!

  5. its about time! i hate this sport. horses are always getting hurt because their humans want to win win win. I hope someday its banned.

  6. I agree 100%. SLOW THE HORSES AND RIDERS DOWN!!!!!!!!! I think should instead of making the course, lets say, 2 minutes, make it 2 minutes and 50 seconds, and etc. So, that people won’t feel rushed.

  7. How high does the death tally need to go before someone actually says stop, and does something about it???? It’s one thing to make a statement, it’s a whole nother ballgame to actually fix the problem.

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