Above L-R Sam Watson (EquiRatings), Diarmuid Byrne (EquiRatings), Georgia Stubington (Vice Chairman Eventing Ireland), Alison Packman (Administration Manager Eventing Ireland), David O’Meara (Chairman Eventing Ireland).

Eventing Ireland has been working to improve the safety and welfare of horse and rider cross country for a number of years.  Despite the current safety tools already being used (frangible pins, qualified course designers and stewards), there will always be a risk to cross country and the aim is to reduce this risk as much as we can.

In recent years, despite the increase in number of starters cross country, rider falls are decreasing, however there has been a recent slight increase in the number of horse falls.


In 2016, Eventing Ireland is very excited to announce a partnership with EquiRatings, the Advanced Eventing Analytics Company owned by International Event Rider Sam Watson and lawyer Diarmuid Byrne.

EquiRatings has created a form tracking system called the EquiRatings Quality Index (ERQI). It has analysed over 150,000 results worldwide across all levels of competition. The output shows a strong correlation between a low ERQI and the likelihood of a horse incurring penalties, elimination and falls in the cross country phase.

Eventing Ireland will be the first national federation in the world to use its own results data more intelligently to monitor cross country performance. Riders will be able to monitor their quality index via the Eventing Ireland online colour coding system which is designed to promote a responsible attitude towards campaigning an event horse.

The EQRI system will highlight combinations that are showing signs of being uncomfortable at a particular level. If combinations exhibit a prolonged period of poor form then the system may restrict participation in instances where the rider has not taken necessary precautions themselves.

For the first year, riders will see a traffic light system in operation when they enter an event:

Colour ERQI Definition
Green The ERQI is SATISFACTORY and meets the standard to compete at this level
Amber The ERQI is SUFFICIENT however there are significant warning signs in the XC form of this combination. We strongly advise that you compete at a lower class until performance improves.
Red The ERQI is UNSATISFACTORY. This horse may not be entered in the current class but may enter a lower class

If, in the rare instance, a rider at EI90 level has a red ERQI, they will be asked to have training by an approved trainer and be assessed before competing again.

Rider downgrading is not new to Eventing Ireland however by using EquiRatings, this process is now automated and will highlight more quickly combinations that are having problems.

Eventing Ireland is aware that other factors may affect a combinations performance so will also be recording length of track, weather and ground conditions at the start of each cross country class.

In 2015, Eventing Ireland hosted 10,129 starters across national and international classes. Only 70 (0.7%) of these combinations registered in the ERQI red zone. 18 of these were at international level, and only 5 (28%) of those were by Irish riders.

Last season, 60% of riders at international classes in Ireland were Irish, so to have just 5 out of 18 red zone combinations is a good reflection on Irish eventing. Removing the overseas riders from the calculations reveals that the red zone would have affected just 0.5% of starters. With riders now aware of the ERQI system, it is anticipated that an increase in responsible decision-making amongst this small number of combinations will likely result in very few red zone recordings throughout 2016 and beyond.

As an organisation, Eventing Ireland is keen to promote responsibility amongst members regarding horse welfare and horse and rider safety. Red zone combinations typically present cross country form of just one clear in the past five to ten attempts. The rider fall rate in EI is 1.5%, but red zone riders have a fall rate almost three times higher at 4.3%. This is why as an organisation we are taking additional measures to improve safety and responsibility at this level.

Georgia Stubington, Eventing Ireland Chairman said of this ground-breaking innovation “This is the most exciting project I have worked on in my time as Chairman of EI.  I think this takes Eventing Ireland into the top leagues of National Governing Bodies who have been using data analysis to promote high performance for some time. I think that aspect of our work with EquiRatings will come in the future but now we are concentrating on safety. Eventing is a risk sport and we will never eliminate all risk but this is a huge step forward into today’s digital world.  I am so proud that this system has been devised and developed by Sam Watson, a member of Eventing Ireland and Diarmuid Byrne, young entrepreneurs of the highest rank.“

Diarmuid Byrne of EquiRatings commented “Eventing presents many unique challenges as a sport and as the first data analytics company in the sport, we are finding a new way of managing and monitoring a number of these challenges using data and data mining. Governing bodies carefully record vast amounts of data and our analysis, advanced software system and eventing intuition is transforming that data into information and insight. The ERQI system has received huge recognition worldwide and it is a credit to Eventing Ireland that have paved the way by becoming the first organisation to incorporate this safety tool so efficiently. Their website and content management system is already the envy of many governing bodies, and now it has progressed even further. This sport has to acknowledge, assess and ultimately manage its risk. Horse welfare has to be at the forefront of all decision making. The ERQI has revolutionised how these key issues are managed and monitored.”

Picture 2: Sam Watson and Diarmuid Byrne of EquiRatings


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