A ROW has broken out about a new rule being introduced by the British Horse Racing Authority, which will insist that all horses taking part in jump racing should be fully shod for safety reasons.
The regulation already applies in Flat races and is set to come into force over jumps on February 1, in the belief that it will make jump racing safer by reducing the risk of horses slipping.
But there is widespread opposition to the move to introduce the rule for jump racing. One trainer said: ” Jump racing is totally different from Flat racing and the British Horse Racing ought to understand that.
“The very act of jumping means the hind legs come through on landing and if the horse has to wear shoes it would automatically create an enormous risk of the front legs being sliced into.”
It has been said that any trainer disregarding the new rule will be able to have their horse re-shod prior to a race, or their horse will be withdrawn by the starter. Trainers have expressed concerns to The National Trainers’ Federation, which has asked the BHA to review the situation.
Mick Easterby said his brother Peter and other trainers agree with him and he is not going to put shoes on his horses’ hind feet when they race. Meanwhile the BHA has said shoeing all four hooves will be compulsory in jumps races from February 1.
He pointed out that one of the most common injuries in racing over hurdles and fences is an overreach caused by the hind hoof cutting into the back of a front leg. This can cause damage to the tendon or even result in removal of a front hoof.
Mick Easterby told reporters :”I ran a horse over hurdles at Newcastle the other day. It wasn’t a good jumper and it came back with a nasty over reach. Luckily it didn’t have hind shoes on, so it will be able to race again, but if it had it would probably have cut its leg in two.
Other trainers have agreed with him but the BHA said in a statement issued to the Press: “Following a two-year process which has involved review of data and consultation with participants, the Rules Committee has approved a change to the rules in order that horses running in jumps races must wear hind shoes, as is the case in Flat races. This is a safety initiative for the benefit of horse and rider to reduce the risk of a horse slipping.
“Trainers will require special dispensation to run horses over jumps without shoes on their hind hooves and can apply for dispensation.”
But NTF chief executive Rupert Arnold says the BHA needs to look at the issue again. He said in a statement :”Since we communicated to trainers the intended change in the rules regarding the shoeing of jumpers, several have expressed their disquiet about it,”
“As a result of that, and because none of the incidences of horses slipping in the BHA survey involved horses who weren’t wearing hind shoes, we have gone back to the BHA to ask them to review their decision to change the rule pending further discussion.”