Is horse racing dangerous?

14 Jun 18

As with any sport, horse racing is tough, but the level of risk for its participants is very low.

During any activity involving horses, there is an element of risk. However, the industry works together to take steps to manage risk and make sure that the sport is as safe as possible.

99.58% of runners in British racing complete their race without incurring any long-term injury. Over the last twenty years, concerted efforts across the sport has seen an already low equine fatality rate drop by a further third, to just 0.18% of runners.

Over 6,000 people dedicate their lives to the welfare of the 14,000 horses in British horse racing, providing them with a level of care and a quality of life that is unsurpassed. The primary concern of everyone involved in the sport is ensuring that horses enjoy their careers safely. There are lots of things we do to make sure that that happens.

No racing can take place at any British course unless all equine welfare standards, measures and criteria have been deemed to be met by the British Horseracing Authority. These criteria and standards far exceed those demanded by animal welfare legislation, and are overseen by the BHA’s team of independent vets and racecourse inspectors. The BHA has shown that it is willing to review even the most established events to ensure safety, making wide ranging changes to the Grand National course in 2012.

Away from racecourses, no trainer can hold a licence unless they are deemed suitable to care for horses, and the standards expected of licensed participants are upheld by a team of stable inspectors and investigative officers.