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Student to improve safety of eventing

Posted 13 April 2015

Olly at work

The safety of equestrian eventing is to be improved thanks to research being conducted by a Harper Adams engineering student.

21-year-old Olly Goody is investigating ways to improve methods of installing the frangible pinned fence – an obstacle used in cross country courses and horse trials.

Traditional methods of installation can prevent the safety element of the fence from working, but Olly’s research hopes to drastically improve the reliability of the fence whilst reducing costs of installation.

Olly, an FdSc Off-Road Vehicle Design student from Devon, said: “I have been involved with building cross country courses for around 10 years and recently noticed that these types of fences weren’t working to their full potential.

“I also have had first-hand experience of their downfalls when installing a frangible pinned fence on bad ground, this took a very long time.

“Inspired by this, my research aims to find a way to optimise the fence to improve efficiency and therefore reduce build-time, whilst also improving the safety element.”

The frangible pinned fence was devised as a safety jump that dismantles when a horse impacts it with force, preventing the serious injuries caused by rotational falls.

Traditional methods of installation create many variables that may interfere with the function of the frangible pin mechanism. Olly’s device is designed to remove these variables, enabling an improved shear of the pin whilst hugely reducing the construction time. 

Olly added: “Following extensive computer design and market research, I have been able to come up with a product that enables the frangible pinned fence to be constructed using a ground screw method rather than digging in upright posts.

“This dramatically reduces the build-time, break-down time and timber costs, as well as guaranteeing a firm post to ensure the fence functions correctly.

“This is a step towards standardising the frangible pin fence so that it is fully functional in all scenarios and prevents horse and rider fatalities.”

Being brought up around horses, building cross country courses caught Olly’s eye from a young age and is something he classes as both work and a hobby.

He is part of a very successful team of course builders who work across the UK and Europe and have been involved in prestigious events such as the Beijing Olympics and Luhmuhlen 4* in Germany.

After completing an eventing season in New Zealand in 2011,Olly picked up the hobby of chainsaw carving.

Following completion of his degree, he hopes to continue within professional course building with the ultimate aim of improving the safety of eventing. He added: “Safety is a huge interest for me, I really want to improve things as it is up to the course designers to work with us as course builders to make things safe for the riders and horses.

“I am now in contact with the health and safety officer of British Evening regarding further testing of my design.

“Thanks to my university degree I have been able to gain a theoretical and practical knowledge of engineering, which I have then been able to apply to my specific area of interest.

“Without the technology supplied by Harper Adams, designing a product such as this would be nigh-on impossible!”

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