UK partners with equine group for safety project in sport of eventing

The U.S. Equestrian Federation announced Friday that it will partner with the U.S. Eventing Association and the University of Kentucky's College of Engineering on research to improve safety in the equestrian sport of eventing.

Eventing, which is among the competitions at the upcoming Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games, has seen severe injuries and deaths when horses and riders collide with the jumps in the cross country portion of competitions. In those cases, horses sometimes somersault over the jumps and land on riders.

In the new alliance between the organizations, UK researchers will develop safety designs and materials to be used in jumps. The university has been researching materials that can break away when struck with a certain amount of force, according to a statement.

The UK researchers have developed a wood and foam composite rail that was used in a practice jump at this year's Rolex Three-Day Event at the Kentucky Horse Park.

The group plans to attend the U.S. Eventing Association's annual meeting in December to promote their work and meet with course designers and builders, according to a statement.