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Plantation Field Debuts Collapsible Fence
Unionville, PA, USA

At the recent Horse Trials held at Plantation Field on June 6-7, organizer Denis Glaccum debuted a collapsible cross-country jump designed by competitor Doug Payne and built by Eric Bull. The prototype, a training-level table, is designed to collapse to half its height upon being struck forcefully by a horse.

In the last two years, a rash of fatal and near-fatal falls has sparked a serious discussion about the future of the sport within the eventing community. Payne specifically designed the fence to address rotational falls, the most deadly type of fall.

"The technology has the potential to significantly reduce the risk of rotational falls," said Payne, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology. "And the beauty of it is that it could be made in nearly any shape and look like just about any solid fence we have out there today."

The collapsible fence contains a hinged front edge supported by steel frame and shear pin that will fail when impacted by a designated force. This allows the jump to drop to half its height in an instant while remaining intact in a manner similar to a hospital stretcher folding in upon itself. After collapsing, the fence can be reset within minutes.

"There's no doubt that eventing must become a safer sport. This collapsible fence promises a major step forward," said Glaccum, who financed the design and construction. "I'm confident that the technology could be used across all levels on numerous types of fences without compromising the essence of cross country."

"I'm thrilled with the way the fence performed at the Starter Trials," Bull said. "While these kinds of jumps will probably cost about 15 percent more to construct, they will actually be easier to build than traditional portable jumps."

More than 30 horse and rider combinations successfully jumped the fence during the competition.

Glaccum plans to debut the next version of the fence at the July 25 Starter Trials.

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