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