Is eventing worth the risk?
By Abby Wilken at Protect My Income
September saw the return of the British Eventing Horse Trials at Kelsall Hill Equestrian Centre in Cheshire and despite the bad weather; the team at Kelsall did another fantastic job of organising a fabulous sporting event welcoming over 800 riders and horses and many more spectators over the full three days.
Protect My Income were very proud to sponsor the BE 100 classes this year and would firstly like to say well done to everyone that took part and a huge congratulations to the following winners of each section…
1st Place BE 100 Section I
Hayden Hankey and Cartown Galaxy
1st Place BE 100 Section J
Harry Harding and Royal Whisper, who is owned by Lynn Mapstone
1st Place BE 11 Section K
Robyn Gray and Boleybawn Cedric, who is owned by Martin Richards
1st Place BE 100 Section L
Jack Leese and Timberwolf III
1st Place BE 100 Section M
Ellis Morton and Elsinore Els
1st Place BE 100 Section N Under 18’s
Jessica Smith and Muliebrile
Our very own Team Percy rider, Immy Kennedy, also took part and not only managed to come away in 14th position in the BE90 class after securing a double clear in show jumping and cross country but also made the front cover of the programme too.
However, aside from all the fun and games of the weekend, eventing can and does come with serious risks. In fact just before the 2012 London Olympics, eventing was recognised as one of the most dangerous sports in the games and was very nearly pulled after the president of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) showed “reasonable and legitimate concerns about eventing safety”.
One of the more feared aspects of the sport is ‘The Rotational Fall’ which occurs when a horse’s front legs or chest hits a fence at full speed and causes their body to somersault forward. The rider is thrown out of their saddle and more often than not landed on by the horse. Over the years there have been a number of high profile cases involving rotational falls and the consequences suffered by horse and rider have proven to be life changing.
In 2014 Katy Williams suffered multiple facial fractures, a broken jaw, seven broken ribs, a broken pelvis, major damage to the base of her neck, loss of hearing in her left ear and extensive nerve damage from a rotational fall at Allerton Park. After an 11-hour operation to rebuild her face, 7 weeks spent on a feeding tube and months of wearing a neck brace Katy was branded a ‘walking miracle’ and is slowly but surely making her way back on the saddle.
Earlier this year, Jo Dunn from Hampshire also suffered a rotational fall whilst out on her 17-year-old cob, Maggie and sustained two ruptured discs in her back, a serious head injury and a dislocated elbow. It took a total of 11 days in hospital and 3 months of recovery for Jo to get back on her feet and, with the help of on-going physiotherapy sessions, has been able to get almost full movement back.
However, not all outcomes are so positive and unfortunately rotational falls can come with disastrous consequences. In 2016 British born eventer Phillipa Humphreys tragically died just three months after the untimely deaths of 17-year-old Olivia Inglis and 19-year-old Caitlyn Fischer both of which experienced rotational falls whilst competing.
So, what can be done?
It’s no secret that the equestrian industry as a whole believes more should be done to eliminate the risks involved in eventing and with the introduction and increased popularity of new specialist protection technologies such as Airvest, the safety of the sport is certainly heading in the right direction. At Protect My Income however, we believe the first steps to protection start with you! Our policies can ensure you’re income is protected should you find yourself unable to work due to injury or sickness and whilst not every rider will encounter a rotational fall during their riding career, it’s not a bad idea to think about getting yourself or someone you may know insured should the worst happen.
If Income Protection sounds like something you’re interested in and you would like to discuss the best options for you and your personal circumstances, Protect My Income will be back at Kelsall Hill for the Area Eventing during the winter season and will be happy to talk to anyone wanting to learn more.
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