RVC partners with the Horse Welfare Board to help with injury risk, safety and welfare - Veterinary Practice
Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×

RVC partners with the Horse Welfare Board to help with injury risk, safety and welfare

The Royal Veterinary College has partnered with the Horse Welfare Board to help minimise injury risk and improve safety and welfare in British racing

jockeys racing horses

The Royal Veterinary College (RVC) has partnered with the Horse Welfare Board and British Horseracing Authority to deliver a three-year project exploring ways to support and direct the industry’s strategy for improving the safety and welfare of racehorses.

Equine safety and welfare continue to be an important consideration for those involved in horseracing.

Fatal and non-fatal injuries sustained during racing and in training not only represent a significant welfare concern but can lead to economic losses and jeopardise the sport’s social licence to continue operating.

The racing industry has therefore partnered with the RVC to generate an evidence-based understanding of current risk factors for injury and fatality in Thoroughbreds racing and training in Great Britain in order to reduce risk.   

This research, funded by the Racing Foundation, will be led by principal investigator, Professor Kristien Verheyen, professor of Veterinary Clinical Epidemiology (RVC), and Dr Sarah Allen, lecturer in Veterinary Clinical Epidemiology (RVC).

Focusing on two main projects, the first piece of work will evaluate the risk factors associated with injury and falls in jump racing in Great Britain (Jump Racing Risk Models).

As part of this, the RVC will use data routinely recorded for each race start made in Great Britain including details of the horse and its competition history, trainer and jockey-level data, and racecourse and race-level information such as distance and number of runners.

Additionally, records of all fatal injuries occurring within 48 hours of racing and non-fatal injuries requiring veterinary attendance on race day will be examined by the team.

This data will be combined and analysed using advanced statistical modelling to identify risk factors for injury and fatality, and monitor trends over time. 

The second project will focus on the risk factors associated with injury during training. For this, the team will collect data from a cohort of racehorse trainers assessing their training practices and any injuries sustained.

The data will be analysed using statistical modelling approaches and findings will help inform “best practices”.

Sarah said: “Equine safety and welfare are of the utmost importance for all involved in horseracing.

“By identifying risk factors and monitoring trends over time, this work will help improve the safety and welfare of horses bred to race.

“The aetiology of injuries in racehorses is complex and identifying risk factors can be difficult. This is why using the RVC’s expertise in epidemiology and research will be key in helping to bring out positive change and achieve the best possible outcomes for the horse.”

The RVC team will work with the data leads from both the Horse Welfare Board and British Horseracing Authority. Research findings and initial recommendations are expected to be published in 2024. 

Have you heard about our
IVP Membership?

A wide range of veterinary CPD and resources by leading veterinary professionals.

Stress-free CPD tracking and certification, you’ll wonder how you coped without it.

Discover more