NEWS > Eventing
Posted by National Admin on 08/04/2019.
Libby Law

Study Using Eventing Footage to Help Identify & Reduce Risk

A new study involving Nottingham Trent University will use An Eventful Life’s video footage to help identify and reduce the risk of injury to horse and rider in eventing.

In recent years, eventing has been in the spotlight in relation to falls during the cross-country phase and, despite governing bodies of the sport working hard to reduce risks in the sport, researchers argue that further work is required to identify factors which contribute to these occurrences.

The innovative PhD research led by NTU’s School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences, in collaboration with An Eventful Life will utilise An Eventful Life’s video footage of international and grass roots eventing competitions in the UK, Australia and New Zealand, providing an extensive and searchable library of footage as background data for the research.

The researchers hope to evaluate the factors that contribute to successful jump clearance and apply their findings in coaching scenarios and to influence improved jump design.

Nottingham Trent University PhD student, Jess Johnson will be working closely with the team at An Eventful Life on the project. Jess combines her academic qualifications, a BSc (Hons) in Zoo Biology and MRes in Applied Anthrozoology, with a passion for equestrian sport and her familiarity with eventing, as well as the training and preparation that occurs prior to an event having worked as a part-time groom for ten years, made her ideal choice as the PhD student for this project. Jess will be working closely with the team at An Eventful Life in the field as well as having expert input from the PhD supervisory panel at NTU.

“The benefits of video feedback have been demonstrated in other sports, such as tennis, but its use in equestrian sport has not been fully explored. Through the use of videography, we hope to evaluate the factors that contribute to successful jump clearance, apply the findings in coaching scenarios and influence improved jump design” says Jess

“The factors which contribute to successful jump clearance have already been studied, what makes this project unique is the video aspect.”

Dr Jaime Martin, Animal and Zoo Biology lecturer at Nottingham Trent University and one of the lead researchers on the project, will be Jess’ Director of Studies, managing the day-to-day requirements of her project from the University’s standpoint. A founding member of the RACES (Research and Consultancy in Equine Surfaces) team who work with the FEI to produce a set of standards for equestrian surfaces, Jaime has been involved in the evaluation of equestrian sports footing for the London 2012, Rio 2016 and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games and is part of a broader team at NTU who focus on equine biomechanics, equine injury and injury risk.

“We have a team at NTU which is researching the factors that contribute to horse and rider safety. These include rider behaviour, surface condition and rider psychology” says Jaime “But this project is a really exciting new opportunity to analyse already existing and future video evidence to improve safety and coaching”

The study also involves NTU’s Dr Carol Hall and Professor David Crundall, a psychologist in the University’s School of Social Sciences. Carol, a Senior Visiting Research Fellow at NTU, has been instrumental in bringing about this collaboration and specialises in equine perception, including the visual ability of horses (in particular, colour vision) and the visual behaviour of equestrian athletes (visual memory, eye tracking in different equestrian disciplines and the impact on performance) while David is a psychologist who specialises in gaze-behaviour, particularly in vehicle drivers

Paul and Debbie Higgs of An Eventful Life will also be part of the Supervisory Panel while other expertise will be accessed and included as required through a supporting Advisory Panel.

“With a vast library of more than one million jumps filmed at events around the world, An Eventful Life provides a unique visual data resource, which will continue to grow during the period of this study, to contribute to the innovative research team at Nottingham Trent University” says Paul

“Eventing is a thrilling sport that is growing in popularity around the world, but we need to make it safer for horse and rider. That is our aim.” 

Supplied by An Eventful Life