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At Aintree Racecourse

Respect for the horse is at the heart of British Racing, with an industry promise and strategy to ensure every horse bred for racing will lead A Life Well Lived . Those involved in the sport - whether it be jockeys, trainers, owners, or wider employees - work tirelessly to deliver five-star care to enable racehorses to thrive as athletes, perform to the best of their abilities, and live a good life. Racing also has an independently chaired Horse Welfare Board, formed in 2019, to help focus collective efforts to drive forward innovation and progress across the sport.

It goes without saying that equine welfare is of the upmost importance to The Jockey Club. Our vision is for every Thoroughbred racehorse in British horseracing to be always treated with compassion, respect, and care. A vital part of our strategy is ensuring equine welfare is at the centre of everything we do and that we set the standard for industry facilities. For so many, the chance to see these beautiful animals competing provides a wonderful spectacle, steeped in tradition and heritage.

British Horseracing – leading the way in equine welfare

As Britain’s second biggest spectator sport, horse racing makes an enormously valuable contribution to communities, generating £4.1 billion annually for the rural economy and providing jobs for over 18,000 full-time employees. It is also the biggest single investor in equine veterinary research, science, and education, having provided more than £47m over the last 20 years via the Horserace Betting Levy Board and, more recently, the Racing Foundation. Investment that ultimately benefits the whole equestrian community, not just racing.


Racing also works with top tier universities and collaborates with organisations across the world to access cutting edge research and thinking to continuously improve welfare and safety in the sport. In 2022, research carried out by Exeter University on equine vision resulted in all markers on hurdles and obstacles across all 40 of Britain’s jump courses being changed from orange to white to aid better visibility for the horses. Led by the Horse Welfare Board, this change is just one example of the sport’s ongoing efforts to continuously minimise risk on racecourses.


Horseracing in Britain is among the world’s best regulated animal activities and is governed by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). In fact, among an equine population estimated to be around 1 million, racehorses in Britain are among the healthiest and best looked after 2% of horses in the country. The 14,000 horses in training at any one time enjoy a level of care and a quality of life virtually unsurpassed by any other domesticated animal.

The Whip

In British racing the use of a foam padded, air cushioned whip is permitted, with strict controls on its use. Whips are carried first and foremost as an essential aid to horsemanship and safety. This is consistent across all equine activities which involve exertion on the part of the horse.

The use of the whip in British racing is restricted to safety, correction and encouragement. By “encouragement” we mean using the whip as an aid to activate and focus the horse, so the horse realises its potential by giving its best.  Use of the whip to coerce is not permitted, and the rules are designed to reflect this.

A recent review of the use of the whip in British racing has resulted in further controls being placed on the use of the padded whip, including that it can be used a maximum of six times in a flat race or seven times in a jump race. Significant penalties are in place for any occurrence where the rules may be breached.

For more information about the whip and why it is used in the sport, please visit the below page on the British Horseracing Authority’s website

Life After Racing

On retiring from racing, some horses go for breeding, some continue to race abroad, some continue to have an active life in other equine competitions and some are retired to a life at grass. Most horses, however, prefer an active life.


Racing established its charity partner, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), over 20 years ago to support the welfare of horses that have retired from racing and, most importantly, generate demand for thoroughbreds. Since that time, RoR has created a vibrant and healthy demand for former racehorses to go on to a range of new careers after retirement. There are currently over 12,000 horses registered with RoR as active in disciplines including polo, showing, dressage and eventing, as well those horses happily engaged in hacking and exercising. RoR also provides a vulnerable horse scheme to help former racehorses identified as needing support and provides funding and a retraining scheme for thoroughbreds who might be struggling to make the transition at their first step away from racing.
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Anyone who works in racing knows that the horses come first. It's why we do what we do HorsePWR.


Great to be able to share all the facts about welfare in racing.


Every single horse matters to racing. That’s why we’ll never be done in making our sport the safest and best it can be for them.


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