AJRA and Racing Victoria trialling the world's safest hurdle in 2020

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. Since their initial trial began in June 2013 the faller rate has reduced to 1.59 per cent (56 fallers from 3,525 runners), which represents a reduction of 0.5 per cent compared to the ten-year average number of fallers across all hurdle designs.

Used in over 13 racecourses in the UK including

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.

You can discover the Trial here

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One Fit Hurdles set up during trial
The 1 Fit hurdles to me look like a great mix of old style made from modern safer materials. I think this mix will provide a safe jump for horse and rider that is going to be more user friendly for track staff to set up and remove from tracks. These hurdles will also be easily stored during the off season.
Brett Scott - Trainer and ex jumps jockey

AJRA share their support for the innovation of the 'One Fit Hurdles' & their implementation in Australia

Sandy Mcgregor, chairman of the AJRA, has identified the significantly lower costs & improvements in occupational health and safety for clubs and their staff.

  • Two people can comfortably assemble 1 jump 70% quicker, 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 fewer breakages, modifications and spares.

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” was far 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 far 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 noticeably when trialling the two different hurdles in the same trial.
  • The foam padding is far more forgiving and safer for all participants.

With the immediate feedback, the AJRA is in full support of the Racing Victoria initiative which are required improvements to support RV’s equine and participant welfare initiatives in jumps racing.

The hurdles performing under race conditions are the worlds best hurdle, personally the best hurdle I have ever ridden over.
Steve Pateman - Champion Jumps Jockey

Postive Results From 2020 Trial

OH&S improvements for on course participants.

Through the assembly process and weight of the hurdles, two people can comfortably move and assemble One Fit Hurdles. This improves participant welfare standards on course.

World Class, BHA approved hurdles.

Approved by the British Horse Authority and used in over 13 courses in the U.K. The ‘One Fit’ design is a modified hurdle frame with a custom fitting closed-cell foam pad replacing the traditional birch.

Horse technique improvements

The technique of the horse in motion over the jump improves noticeably when trialling the two different hurdles at speed, resulting in improvement in safety measures.

Testimonials

All the riders seem very positive about them; the horses jump them well, they are a lot lighter construction than the previous hurdles which means less downtime to horses. Since the inception in England the fall rate has decreased significantly.
Eric Musgrove
The one fit hurdles will be a wonderful addition to Australian Jumps Racing. The horses measure and jump them well. Seem to have more respect for the obstacle and get them jumping off their hocks.
Amy Mcdonald
The horses will go slower, more so on deep heavy ground as they will try their best to jump these rather than cheat them when tired.
Lee Horner
The new 'One FIt' Hurdles are much safer than the current hurdles used.
Tom Ryan - Irish Jumps Jockey
Under normal racing conditions, the horses will respect the jumps more.
Will Gordon - English Jumps Jockey
Horses will go slower because the new hurdles present bigger
Steve Pateman - Champion Jumps Jockey & trainer

Reference articles supporting science & innovation of hurdles

Articles about the trials in Australia

The jumps racing hurdle & steeplechase transportation are proudly supported by Ecycle Solutions.