Minor changes to the Rules of Racing | June 2024

06 Jun 2024 BHA Features Integrity Welfare

The following minor changes to the Rules of Racing have been approved by the BHA Board and come into effect on 1 July 2024.

These Rules have been added or amended to improve clarity and consistency, following engagement with and feedback from participants, including the National Trainers Federation’s Equine Welfare Panel.

Please also note the updated deadline for ensuring equine influenza vaccination records are up to date and that a horse is qualified to race. This is set out below, with the new deadline in place from 1 June 2024.


The use of ice on a horse prior to racing will not be permitted once the horse has arrived at the racecourse, unless approved by a BHA veterinary officer.

Previously, ice was allowed to be applied to a horse on a racecourse up until two hours before the start time of a race, and within two hours if approval was granted.

As ice can be used to mask pain, it has now been agreed that ice or other cooling devices can only be used once a horse enters a racecourse if permission is granted from a veterinary officer.

Rule (E) 9.2 will be updated accordingly on 1 July 2024.


An addition to the Rules intended to make clear what equipment is not permitted to be used on horses in the racecourse stables area.

Unless approved by a BHA veterinary officer, items designed or advertised to have an effect on the horse’s body system, such as magnetic boots, magnetic rugs and massage pads, should not be brought onto racecourse property.

Rule (E) 9.3 will be added to the Rules on 1 July 2024.



The removal of sensory hairs (more commonly known as whiskers) will no longer be permitted, bringing British racing into line with other international equestrian disciplines.

Unless removed by a veterinarian on welfare grounds or to allow for treatment, the sensory hairs around a horse’s mouth, nose and eyes can no longer be clipped, shaven or removed in any way.

This change has been made to help ensure a horse’s tactile sensory function is not compromised, which can happen if sensory hairs are removed.

Rule (D)3.3 will be added to the Rules on 1 July 2024



An amendment to the Equipment Code for lip chains to provide greater clarity about the circumstances in which they can be used on a racecourse.

From 1 July, lip chains can only be used if the chain is covered and connected to a lead rope which is under the control of a handler on the ground.

A trainer can also now apply a lip chain without permission from a veterinary officer.

Veterinary officers will be monitoring to ensure lip chains are being used in the right way, to help avoid any discomfort to the horse or injury to others if used incorrectly.

Paragraph 18 of the Equipment Code will be updated to reflect this change.



We continue to encourage trainers to ensure equine influenza vaccinations have been administered, uploaded to the Weatherbys App and verified by a veterinary surgeons before entries close. This remains the most effective way of ensuring that the horse is qualified to race.

But we recognise that there may be times where there are challenges with administrative processes and that additional time may be required to resolve any issues.

Please note that as of 1 June 2024, the deadline for having vaccination information uploaded and approved on the Weatherbys Vaccination App was amended as follows:

  • Trainers will now have until 4pm on the day a race closes to resolve any issues with a horse’s vaccination status.
  • The deadline for the trainer’s veterinary surgeon to verify vaccinations will continue to be 9am the day after the race closes.

This follows a review of the trial introduced last year to give trainers additional time after entries had closed to address any outstanding issues with their horse’s vaccination status. As part of the trial, the deadline was extended from midday on the day of the race to 9am the following day.

However, it has become evident that the 9am deadline does not allow sufficient time for updates on the Vaccination App to be manually processed – leading to delays in getting information out to participants and the public.

As such, trainers will continue to be given additional time to ensure the correct information has been recorded on the Weatherbys App, but the deadline has been brought forward to 4pm on the day the race closes, rather than 9am on the following day.

Veterinary surgeons will still have until 9am the day after entries close to verify the vaccination records, and the email reminder system will remain in place to help reduce the likelihood of a situation where a horse is not qualified to race.