New body protector rules for all jockeys will come into force this autumn.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) announced yesterday (28 June) that the minimum standard of body protectors will be increased from BETA level 1 to level 2. Body protectors must also comply with EN 13158: 2009 or 2018 safety standards.
This will come into force for all jockeys riding under Rules from 1 October 2018.
The Point-to-Point Authority (PPA) confirmed to H&H that the change has been “agreed in principle” for pointing fixtures from the start of next season, but is awaiting final approval from the PPA board.
Irish racing authorities introduced the increased safety standard in 2017 and France is expected to follow suit next year.
This is the first change to body protector regulations under BHA Rules since 2015.
A statement from the BHA said the organisation had “elected to wait and monitor the situation in Ireland to see if any unusual patterns of injury emerged owing to the new design”.
No such patterns have been recorded and the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board’s senior medical officer, Dr Adrian McGoldrick, has endorsed the move to level two vests.
The BHA has allowed an extra 1lb allowance to take into account the extra weight that comes with the added protection.
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“I am delighted that the level 2 vests will be introduced as they offer enhanced protection compared to the level 1 vest, and the extra weight allowance is very welcome,” said the BHA’s chief medical adviser, Dr Jerry Hill.
“Through the use of the BHA digital archive with our academic research partners at the universities of Bath and Sydney, Australia, we will be monitoring falls patterns to see how we might introduce further policies to reduce injuries in racing, with an emphasis on spinal injuries.”
Aidan Coleman and Ruby Walsh are among the jockeys who have welcomed the move.
“I had to wear [a level 2 body protector] when I rode in Ireland about 18 months ago and when I got back to England I immediately ordered two, and have been wearing them ever since,” said Aidan.
Ruby added he believes there is a “huge improvement” between the level 1 and level 2 body protectors.
“From taking heavy falls riding in steeplechase races, to horses landing on you, standing on you, kicking you, I find the level 2 provides way more protection,” he said.
In this week’s Horse & Hound magazine, out on Thursday 28 June 2018, don’t miss our full report from the Hickstead Derby meeting, including all the showjumping and showing action, plus don’t miss our six-page report from Royal Ascot.
We also have a feature on the much discussed whip rules across the disciplines and in this week’s ‘Vet clinic’ we find out how to spot the signs of sand colic.