In 2016, Eventing Ireland became the first nation worldwide to use the ERQI (EquiRatings Quality Index) system – the cross-country risk analysis indictors developed by Equestrian data science company EquiRatings.
The ERQI system provided traffic light indictors of risk for all horses at all levels competing in Ireland in 2016. Horses which displayed amber ERQIs were shown to be carrying a statistically higher risk profile than desired, and riders were urged to strongly consider competing at a lower-class level until their performance was in line with appropriate risk levels.
Horses with red ERQIs were shown to be carrying a significant level of risk at that level and in line with the new Eventing Ireland rules, were restricted from competing at that level.
The results from the first year of the ERQI system have been significant, in particular at CNC2* level where just 1.5% of combinations were directly affected by red ERQIs but the level of falls decreased by 66% on the previous year.
The ERQI system is proving an extremely accurate predictive tool in preventing horse falls and Eventing Ireland will continue to work closely with EquiRatings to further improve rider safety in 2017.
For 2017, Eventing Ireland is moving forward with its drive for safety and now all Eventing Ireland course designers must either be accredited, or work under the supervision of an accredited mentor, an initiative introduced by the board of Eventing Ireland.
An education day was held at Tattersalls on Saturday 4 February with 26 course designers in attendance. Top Olympic and International 4* course designer, Mike Etherington-Smith explained the process to becoming an Eventing Ireland accredited course designer and why course design – at all levels - is so important.
Course designers will now be required to fill in a Log Book, detailing which tracks and courses they have produced. They will be mentored by an FEI accredited course designer during this process who will ensure that the courses comply with the Eventing Ireland Cross Country Course Guidelines and will sign off the log book prior to the accreditation process.
Sam Deverell, chairman of the course designers committee said: “This is a new initiative from Eventing Ireland to implement a credible, sustainable education and evaluation system that will benefit all members of the society. With the knowledge sharing and implementing of good standards we plan to help produce horses and riders capable of reaching the highest accomplishments within our sport.”