raCinG flat inuries inJuries
modelling environmental and genetic contributions to risk of racehorse injury in uK thoroughbreds,” implies, it is likely that multiple factors interact to create injury. a horse’s age and sex, plus an inherent propensity to injury that may have genetic components, are combined with factors such as recent race history and conditions specific to the race on the day injury occurs. thus many factors come together in a perfect storm to create injury. a better understanding of how these factors interact will help prevent injury in future.
epidemiology is the branch of clinical medicine concerned with the study of disease occurrence and determinants of
disease in populations. Put simply, we can use epidemiological investigations to find out how common injuries are, and what factors increase or decrease the risk of injury. some circumstances are inherent within the horse, but by identifying these “risk factors” it may be possible to implement interventions by changing the modifiable factors, in order to try and improve horse safety and reduce injury occurrence. epidemiological studies have been widely used in racehorse research, including in investigations of fatality risk in thoroughbreds in Great Britain and overseas, and the Horserace Betting levy Board has been a major investor of such research because of its potential to enhance racehorse safety.
Flat racing fatality rates
although relatively rare, racehorse fatalities on race day are highly upsetting. in the late nineties, James Wood and colleagues looked at fatalities on British racecourses using data from 1990 to 1999. they found a fatality rate in uK flat racing was nine horses per 10,000 starts. examination of data by the British Horseracing authority (BHa) over a longer term has shown that the equine fatality rate has fallen by one-third over 20 years, from around 0.3% to 0.2% across racing disciplines. On the global stage, the fatality rates vary by country, with fatalities in Victoria, australia, between 33 and 44 horses per 10,000 starts on the flat. in north america, fatality figures are between 14 and 17 horses ISSUE 50 TRAINERMAGAZINE.COM