Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type





Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Suzanne Weaver Smith,


The sport of equestrian cross country eventing has seen many serious and even fatal injuries due to rotational horse falls in recent years. The sport originally consisted of horse and rider teams jumping stationary, wood fences. However, in a move towards increasing safety for horses and riders, frangible and deformable safety devices have been emerging in the field. This thesis provides an overview of safety designs that are currently available and those that are on the horizon. Also, a path-finder method of evaluating and developing safety fence designs was outlined and applied to two distinct designs, a hinged gate and a collapsible table fence. A full size prototype of the hinged gate was constructed and tested in the field in two different locations. The collapsible table fence design was developed and then a ½ geometric scale prototype was constructed to demonstrate design feasibility and to analyze design development challenges.