Equine fracture kits at racecourses in new ‘major welfare initiative’

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  • Every racecourse in Britain will be given a “revolutionary” equine fracture support kit, in what has been described as a “major equine welfare initiative”.

    The Racecourse Association (RCA) led a collaborative bid to the Racing Foundation, which has provided £229,000, to which will be added contributions from courses, the National Trainers Federation (NTF) and the Association of Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons (ARVS).

    The kits, which are endorsed by British racing’s independent Horse Welfare Board, comprise two compression boots, two flexion splints and a set of aluminium splints. The compression boots provide “appropriate rigid external support for all limb fractures with the general principles that all prognoses are optimised by applying rapid and appropriate support to achieve immobility and stability, while reducing pain and anxiety for the horse”.

    The Horse Welfare Board said the kits will be able to make a “significant difference to equine participants and the sport as a whole” and that they are a “beneficial tool for each racecourse veterinary surgeon to have at their disposal”.

    Board member Simon Knapp said: “The Horse Welfare Board welcomes the new fracture support system. This system will be present on all British racecourses in the near future and should be seen as a major welfare initiative.

    “The kits are easy to apply, giving immediate and effective support to injured horses resulting in rapid relief from pain and anxiety. Such an advanced support system will facilitate the transport of injured horses to centres of excellence, contributing to an improved prognosis for recovery and enhanced equine welfare. We are confident that this will be welcomed by the racing industry.”

    The kits are due to become available this month, and are designed to last 10 years.

    RCA racecourse services director Caroline Davies said: “I am pleased that our vision to continue to enhance the safety of our equine participants has been matched by the Racing Foundation with their generous award of funding for the equine fracture kits.

    “Limb fractures in horses are extremely complicated and, unlike similar injuries in humans, can in some cases be untreatable. This new equipment, however, will provide the best possible chance for an injury to be properly assessed, while discomfort to the horse is significantly reduced, and give the best chance of future rehabilitation.”

    Racing Foundation CEO Rob Hezel added: “The fracture support kit has the potential to be revolutionary for the welfare of our racehorses.

    “We are pleased to provide funding of £229,200 to ensure that for the next 10 years, every racecourse in the country will have an equine fracture support kit at its disposal.”

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