Revisiting Time Faults: What Did 2022's Rule Change Have on Scores Worldwide?
Photo by Catie Staszak Media.
Last April, Prixview conducted a case study on time faults at the 2022 Winter Equestrian Festival, revealing a 200% increase in time faults from the 2021 winter season in Wellington, across all FEI classes.
The year 2022 brought about a most impactful rule change: Time faults, originally allocated every four seconds over the time allowed that it takes a combination to complete a course, were suddenly allocated every single second over that TA.
If the time allowed is 78 seconds and...
Combination A has a rail at Fence 6 and finishes in 79.8 seconds
2021: 5 faults
2022: 6 faults
Combination B has no rails but circles before Fence 3 and completes the round in 84.2 seconds
2021: 6 faults
2022: 11 faults
With a full year of implementation now in the books, Prixview is revisiting this rule change to determine what effect it has had on scoring around the world, evaluating nearly 27,000 CSI5* results between 2021 and 2022 in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Europe and Asia. Here's what we found:
Across these regions, average total faults increased by 7.89% from 2021 to 2022. Canada was impacted the most: The average total faults in the nation increased by nearly 40% over the course of the year.
When isolated, average time faults increased by 16.46% in this large demographic. Canada's average time faults more than doubled, indicated a direct correlation. In the U.S., the average number of time faults increased by about 33%.
An increase is not surprising, but how much of an increase certainly catches the eye. The numbers themselves are small, but the percentages are statistically significant.
Which riders were impacted most? Prixview looked at five riders in the top 75 of the Longines World Rankings (the most highly ranked from the U.S., Canada and Europe).
Even the World's best will have seen their averages increase from year to year—that is, unless you're Martin Fuchs, who despite losing the great Clooney from his string to retirement, improved his total faults average in CSI5* competition. Fuchs topped the 2022 Longines FEI Jumping World Cup™ Final and spent time as the World No. 1 last year, deservingly so. Averaging 2.82 faults in CSI5* competition is an impressive feat (We see you, too, McLain Ward, with that 2.99 faults average).
When it comes to time faults, though, it's interesting to note that of these five riders, Fuchs and Ward were among the athletes most affected, seeing their average increase by 67.53% and 70.833%, respectively. Both are known for being fast but extremely calculated riders, so this makes sense. In the biggest Grand Prix events, these riders kept the jumps up most often, perhaps only sacrificing some time. Moreover, it's not uncommon to see these riders tally a time fault in a Welcome with their eyes on bigger prizes later in the week. Still, note that these averages remain less than 1 time fault throughout the year.
Why did Tiffany Foster's average time faults increase so much? There are two factors to keep in mind here. First, Foster jumped 52 more CSI5* events in 2022 than in 2021—a 71.23% increase. An increase in time faults was inevitable, especially with the rule change. Moreover, Foster developed a largely up-and-coming group of horses at the level; she enters 2023 with a very exciting string, led of course by her World Championships partner, Figor.
There's no question that time is plays a tremendous factor in both course design and competition in show jumping sport, and 2022's rule change truly reflected that.
Follow Prixview data to see how these numbers change in 2023 after a most educational year.