Safety of our riders and horses is at the heart of everything we do, and is our paramount concern every single day. 


collapsible Fence Technology Research Study

In 2008 the USEA supported the original study into collapsible fence technology which was conducted by Dr. Suzanne Smith of the University of Kentucky College of Engineering. Since the completion of that first phase, Dr. Smith continued to work independently on the development of this technology working with engineers and researchers from Britain and Sweden.  As a result, she has become an internationally respected expert in the field. The work spearheaded by Dr. Smith and her colleagues has recently resulted in new types of fences now becoming eligible for the use of the new technology. This is exciting news!  In this fast paced high-tech world, who knows what will be available next month and next year?

The USEA is now embarking on a study to continue the research and development of new collapsible fence technology. This comprehensive study will take up to two years to complete and estimates are that we will need to raise approximately $160,000 to cover the costs. The good news is that with your help we have already raised half of that amount, enough to meet the financial requirements for the first year of the study.

The proposal includes, but is not limited to, the evaluation of jump designs for improved horse and rider safety with a focus on in-field mechanical testing, analysis and design, materials evaluation and construction cost estimation.



Equine Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Research Study

This study concentrates on how efficiently a horse’s cardiovascular and pulmonary systems function when galloping and jumping across country, and seeks answers to such questions as: Are our horses hearts working harder now than in the past? Does the short format increase pressures in the lung vessels? 

While equine fatalities during competition are uncommon, the sudden death of an equine athlete during competition is distressing. The goal of the current study is to describe heart rhythm in healthy event horses during the cross-country phase of competition. Results will provide us with an understanding of the spectrum of cardiac responses of healthy horses to this unique and intense exercise and will document the frequency of occurrence of transient, potentially performance-limiting arrhythmias in the sample population. Heart health is of paramount importance to safe and successful competition and the goal of our team of internationally renowned veterinarians and cardiologists is to apply scientific principles to understanding the risks of competition for event horses.



Spearheaded by former international event rider, John Staples, and Dr. Reed Ayers, upper level event rider and a Research Assistant Professor at the Colorado School of Mines (Department of Metallurgical and Materials Science), this study monitored horses and riders on the cross-country course to determine the speeds at which the courses are being negotiated. Some surprising data came to light as to the excessive speeds some riders have achieved in order to complete courses inside the time. Thanks to the research done by Messrs. Staples and Ayers many coaches were able to use the data to educate students on the importance of pace. A copy of the GPS Speed Study presentation made at the 2009 Annual Meeting and Convention can be found here.

Instructor Certification Program

Instructors are essential to the training of riders and their horses for humane, safe, and skilled participation in the sport of eventing. Started in 2002, the USEA Instructors’ Certification Program (ICP) educates all levels of eventing instructors to confirm their knowledge base, both theoretical and practical, upon which they will continue to build throughout their teaching lifetime. The ICP program is one of the most vital of all educational programs as accurate and correct riding contributes to the safety of both horses and riders.