Friday, January 25, 2019

British Horseracing Authority delays requirement of hind shoes on jump horses

Background: In the middle of the 2019 jump racing season in the United Kingdom, a major rule change that had been scheduled to take effect on February 1 is now postponed. The rule would have required all horses to race with shoes on all four feet. This follows a similar 2016 rule change in flat racing, that similarly required all horses in flat turf races to be shod on all feet, unless a declaration is made 48 hours before the race. Today the jump racing rule change was delayed. 

The information below was provided by the British Horseracing Authority.

Following the receipt of further submissions from the National Trainers Federation (NTF) and individual trainers, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has made the decision to delay the implementation of an approved rule which requires all jump racing horses to race fully shod. The rule was due to be introduced on February 1, 2019.

The delay is being implemented for a period of no less than six months, in order to allow for a number of actions to take place to further inform the debate on this matter.

The decision to introduce this rule was based on a two-year project which included evaluation of data and consultation with representative bodies including the NTF and Professional Jockeys Association (PJA).

The rule was intended to improve human and equine safety by reducing the chance of a racehorse slipping.

The rule had been agreed by the BHA Board and Rules Committee, and central to this decision were the facts influencing their rule change:
  • Approximately 98% of all runners in Jump races in the UK already race fully shod;
  • Data highlights that a horse racing partially shod in a jump race is over eight times more likely to slip than one that races fully shod. This equates to one slip for every 350 partially shod runners, compared with one in every 3,000 runners wearing four shoes;
  • The introduction of similar requirements for flat racing has worked well and has been received positively;
  • An exemption provision exists in the new rule to allow for a horse to race partially shod on legitimate veterinary grounds provided any application is supported by appropriate evidence;
  • The PJA advocated introduction of the rule on the grounds of improved safety for horses and their members.
However, subsequent to the rule being communicated to trainers, the BHA has received new submissions from the NTF and individual trainers in which they raise concern about the rule’s implementation. In addition, a delegation of jump jockeys has submitted considerations on the matter, although the PJA remains in support of the rule.

As a result, the BHA has made the decision to evaluate these concerns in more detail before implementing the rule. This will include:

  • Discussion at both the annual BHA Equine Welfare Agencies consultation meeting, and the BHA Veterinary Committee, specifically seeking views on the argument that wearing hind shoes increases the risk of tendon injury (particularly bearing in mind 98% of the NH population race fully shod);
  • BHA Veterinary Officer Team to commence gathering data on tendon injuries suffered on a racecourse in a jump race that are the result of being struck into, in order to identify whether there is any correlation between the severity of the injury and wearing shoes behind or otherwise;
  • Stewards will analyze any horse slip that occurs in a jump race and confirm the status of the horse in relation to shoes, and assess impact of the slip in the context of safety risk to jockeys;
  • The NTF/Trainers who oppose the rule amendment are asked to provide any data or scientific evidence to support their view that there is a greater welfare risk to horses racing fully shod than partially.

Following the conclusion of this research, and consideration of further submissions, a final decision will be made around the implementation of this rule.

For more information, visit the website of the British Horseracing Authority.

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Equine imaging milestone at UC Davis: World's first standing PET scan of a horse's foot shows activity of bone or soft tissue at molecular level

The University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has achieved another milestone in clinical equine imaging with the first successful use of positron emission tomography (PET) to scan the foot of a standing horse. 

Friday, January 18, 2019

Laminitis Prevention: British Veterinarians Issue Alert to Prevent Spring Laminitis in Obese Horses

Links between equine obesity and laminitis are well documented, but veterinarians still report an increase in obesity; latest estimates are that as many as fifty percent of all horses in the United Kingdom may be overweight and at risk for related health problems. Today the British Equine Veterinary Association issued an official warning to owners that is valid all over the world. 

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Beeman and Shannon Named Speakers for 2019 Heumphreus Memorial Lecture at UC Davis

Charlie Heumphreus
The late Charles Heumphreus, resident farrier at the University of California at Davis, is remembered each year with a memorial lecture available free of charge to veterinarians and farriers. (UC Davis photo)

The 33rd Annual Charles Heumphreus Memorial Lecture will take place February 16, 2019 at the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. The event is a tribute to the vet school's longtime resident farrier, the late Charles Heumphreus.