Equine Fitness, Blackgrounds Farm , Culworth Rd , Chipping Warden , Banbury, OX17 1LZ, United Kingdom
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Frangible pins


Frangible Pins are now an integral part of fence safety around the world and have been proved to reduce the incidence of rotational falls, potentially saving lives.  But what are they?  Who invented them? How do they work?  Find out here.



• An Incident report form applying to all falls of horse and/or rider was developed and piloted during the 2000/2001 season by British Eventing.
British Eventing commissioned the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL) to conduct a film analysis of 100 accidents including 75 cross country fences and 25 show jumping fences.
• It was found that the potential for a crushing injury was related to the rotating motion and landing angle of the horse. A landing angle of more than 90 degrees was considered to provide a significant risk of crushing injury to the rider. This happened when the horse hit a fixed obstacle between its knee and elbow. Below this the horse was able to scrabble over – but above this and the horse stayed behind the fence with the rider staying seated or ejected over the fence.
• A mathematical model was developed and a full-scale crash test horse was used to simulate the load conditions between a horse and fence.
• Based on the results of the test programme, TRL and British Eventing established that if the rail anchorage were designed to break at a controlled load to ensure that the rail would fall, this would remove the vertical load between the horse and the fence.


• A breakable pin was designed with the precise failure strength which allowed the rail to drop thereby stopping the horse from rotating or somersaulting. This means the horse can hit the rail fairly hard without the fence collapsing and still keep its feet, but if the critical load is reached, the pin would fail with the potential of minimising risk of injury to both horse and rider.
.A small team of British Eventing (BE) cross-country course builders & designers looked at the practicalities of the proposed system and how to implement it into the sport.
• Having tested the system the pins were trialed at BE and FEI events throughout the 2002 season.
- 13 BE events from Pre-Novice to Advanced
- 14 FEI events across 3 continents
(Badminton, Burghley, WEG, Adelaide, Boekolo and Fairhill)
• Video and eye-witness accounts confirmed that the system is robust with fences installed with the pins having been hit in many ways at all events.
• Pins broke twice and on both occasions, serious injury to both horse and rider was averted.
• At Boekolo CCI*** 2002, a tired horse failed to make the back rail of a parallel. Both pins broke and both horse and rider escaped unharmed from an incident that eye-witness accounts suggested would have resulted in significant injury had the pins not been in use.
• These two situations show that the system has already been proven to contribute towards rider safety by reducing the chance of ‘rotational’ and other potentially dangerous falls in certain circumstances. The pins are now fitted in all fences that they can be at British Eventing events. They are also being used in some fences on the cross country course at the Olympic Games in Hong Kong.
• The merits of the system include:
- Result of significant scientific research and testing
- Maintains integrity of the cross country phase
- Easy to install
- Easy to replace pins following activation (approx 1-2 minutes)