FEI and EquiRatings sign agreement

A partnership which should bring a higher level of safety to eventing and endurance

Sam Watson and with Horseware Lukeswell at WEG 2014

News that FEI has signed a four-year agreement with Irish equestrian data science company EquiRatings, has been received extremely well all over the world. The agreement means that the two organisations will work together on risk management initiatives for both eventing and endurance.

The partnership will see EquiRatings work with the FEI’s extensive database which, alongside competition and veterinary data, has been collating statistics on fences, falls and injuries in eventing and other information related to risk management in international competition for the last 10 years, working closely with national federations and stakeholders.

EquiRatings is the brainchild of Irish friends Sam Watson and Diarmuid Byrne. Sam is an Irish international event rider who, according to the company’s website “turned down a life in investment banks so he could keep eventing, and holds all sorts of first class honours degrees.”  Diarmuid was formerly a corporate lawyer and now can turn his hand (or voice) to providing some great commentary, as does Sam – the Event Masters commentaries last year benefited from their information.

As an important step in the FEI’s ongoing risk management work in eventing, the company will initially focus on the implementation of the EquiRatings Quality Index (ERQI) at all level of events, starting with  4-star. The ERQI is an index which helps assess the risk of horse falls in the cross-country phase and has proved an accurate indicator at national level. It has been used in Ireland very effectively – you can read about it in an earlier article on this link.

EquiRatings and the FEI will work on specific projects at the request of the FEI Eventing Committee and the FEI Risk Management Steering Group.

It is  not just about eventing, though. Endurance will also benefit, as the agreement will see the FEI and EquiRatings further collaborating on horse welfare and data analysis projects in this discipline, formalising exploratory work between the parties over the last 12 months. Initially this will include developing data analysis and predictive analysis tools to measure and manage risk for both human and horse.

“This exciting new partnership with EquiRatings is part of a holistic approach to risk management, working with our national federations from grassroots right up to elite level,” FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez said. “The ERQI is a powerful tool for understanding and predicting risk in both eventing and endurance and brings a new layer of insight into the decision-making process at a global governance level.

“We have worked with EquiRatings in the past, but formalising this partnership provides us with a platform to move forward with more concrete analysis of the FEI’s data, and gives valuable insight into performance and risk. It also has the potential to contribute greatly to the promotion of our sport and the way in which it is consumed by fans.”

EquiRatings director Diarmuid Byrne commented: “Managing risk in equestrian sports is a collective responsibility and we are delighted to be working alongside the FEI as we all play our part. This official partnership shows the ongoing commitment of the FEI and the FEI Risk Management Steering Group to new measures and tools. We will also be working with a number of national federations around the world in 2017 to implement ERQIs at national level.”

EquiRatings will make a presentation on data analysis as part of the Eventing risk management session at the 2017 FEI Sports Forum in Lausanne on April 11. The FEI Sports Forum will be streamed live on the FEI YouTube channel.

Full details on risk management in Eventing can be found on the FEI website: http://fei.org/fei/disc/eventing/risk-management