A cutting edge hurdle design proven to improve horse and rider safety, is now being used in Australian jumps racing trials.
The ‘One Fit’ design is a modified hurdle frame with a custom fitting closed-cell foam pad replacing the traditional birch. The hurdle was developed by the British Horseracing Authority’s Senior Inspector of Courses Richard Linley, in consultation with relevant industry bodies, with the objective of reducing both the faller rate and the risk of injury as the result of a fall.
The improvement in equine welfare in the UK has been significant. They have seen a reduction of 0.5 percent compared to the ten year average number of fallers across all hurdle designs.
Used in over 13 racecourses in the UK including Ascot Cheltenham and now in Cork, Ireland, The AJRA expect to see similar results with the scientifically proven hurdle to improve social licence of Jumps Racing in Australia.
With the support of Executive Manager of Integrity Jamie Stier the trials are currently in progress both at Cranbourne and Warrnambool.
Nick Rule, Chairman of Warrnambool is behind the progressive change "This is yet another step forward in our social licence to operate the jumps racing industry, following suit from the British Horseracing Authority is a sensible and required approach. The Warrnambool Racing club is in full support of implementing the new design.”
Australian jumps jockeys were all in the opinion that the “one fit” were superior than the hurdles currently used. The jockeys support of wishing to have the hurdles implemented to improve equine and participant welfare is apparent in their overall feedback during the trial.
- The horses respect the hurdles more, which is important because they will be less likely to make a mistake because of this.
- The technique of the horse in motion over the jump improves, noticeable when trailing the two different hurdles in the same trial.
- The foam padding is more forgiving and safer for all participants.
Sandy McGregor, Chairman of the AJRA, has identified the significant lower costs & improvements in occupational health and safety for clubs and their staff.
- Two people can comfortably assemble 1 jump 70% more quickly, improving OH&S of ground staff.
- Hurdles much lighter than existing and well within the OHS lifting limits of 2 people.
- Significantly lower costs for each racecourse which include less breakages, modifications and spares.
With the immediate feedback, the AJRA are in full support of the Racing Victoria initiative which are required improvements to support RV’s equine and participant welfare initiatives in jumps racing.