Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Rethinking Toe Grabs? Model Rule Adjustment Recommended to Allow 4mm Grabs on Dirt Racetracks

(Statement from The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee issued 22 July 2009)

"After discussions with industry participants and a review of all scientific research available on the use of toe grabs on the front shoes of Thoroughbreds, The Jockey Club Thoroughbred Safety Committee recommends adjusting the current RCI Model Rule on horse shoes to allow toe grabs up to 4 mm in height on front shoes on dirt racing surfaces only.

"The Thoroughbred Safety Committee believes the current elimination of traction devices on front shoes should be maintained and only the height of the toe grab should be adjusted in the Model Rule.

"In no case does the Thoroughbred Safety Committee recommend the use of toe grabs of greater than 4 mm on front shoes of Thoroughbreds.

"The Thoroughbred Safety Committee continues to believe that the recommendation limiting traction devices on front shoes of Thoroughbreds to toe grabs no greater than 2 mm is in the best interests of the welfare and safety of the horse.

"However, the Thoroughbred Safety Committee is sensitive to the concerns of the horsemen and recognizes that local circumstances such as dirt track composition and/or weather conditions might justify the racing commission and/or the racetrack to allow horsemen the discretion to utilize short toe grabs no greater than 4 mm on the front shoes of Thoroughbreds on dirt racing surfaces only."

The Hoof Blog will continue to keep readers updated on shoeing rule recommendations and changes as well as research that may affect decision-making about horse equipment.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing. No use without permission. You only need to ask. Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to