Racing of two year old horses
Policy Type: Policy
Manual Reference: 10b
Date ratified: 17 September 2015
The New Zealand Veterinary Association (NZVA) considers that the racing of two year old horses is acceptable provided the horses are adequately developed and are free of significant conformation faults.
- There is good evidence that exercise at a young age advances tissue maturity. Adult levels of tissue maturity have been shown to have been attained in horses at an age before two year old racing usually commences.
- There is evidence that horses trained or raced as two year olds have a longer racing career and a greater number of starts.
- There is good evidence that racing as a two year old does not reduce the length of a horse's racing career.
- The NZVA does recognise that training and racing of horses is inevitably associated with some risk of injury.
- The NZVA recommends that the minimisation of these risks should be a responsibility for the industry as a whole.
- There should be close attention to the diet, training and racing schedules of young horses to reduce the incidence of exercise-induced injuries.
- Measures to decrease injuries to all racing horses should include improvements in track design and educational programs for industry personnel.
Patterson-Kane JC, Parry DAD, Birch HL, Goodship AE, Firth EC. An Age-Related Study of Morphology and Cross-Link Composition of Collagen Fibrils in the Digital Flexor Tendons of Young Thoroughbred Horses. Connective Tissue Research 36: 253-260, 1997
Perkins NR, Reid SWJ, Morris RS. Effect of training location and time period on racehorse performance in New Zealand I: Descriptive analysis. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 52:236-242, 2004a.
Perkins NR, Reid SWJ, Morris RS. Effect of training location and time period on racehorse performance in New Zealand II: Multivariable analysis. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 52:243-249, 2004b.
Perkins NR, Reid SWJ, Morris RS. Profiling the New Zealand Thoroughbred racing industry. 1. Training, racing and general health patterns. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 53(1): 59-68, 2005a.
Perkins NR, Reid SWJ, Morris RS. Profiling the New Zealand Thoroughbred racing industry. 2. Conditions interfering with training and racing. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 53(1): 69-76, 2005b.
Perkins NR, Reid SWJ, Morris RS. Risk factors for musculoskeletal injuries of the lower limbs in Thoroughbred racehorses. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 53(3):171-183, 2005c
Perkins NR, Reid SWJ, Morris RS. Risk factors for injury to the superficial digital flexor tendon and suspensory apparatus in Thoroughbred racehorses in New Zealand. New Zealand Veterinary Journal, 53(3):184-192, 2005d
van Weeren PR, Firth EC, Brommer H, et al.. Early exercise advances the maturation of glycosaminoglycans and collagen in the extracellular matrix in the horse. Equine Vet. J. 40: 128-135, 2008
The racing of two-year-old racehorses – the facts in relation to welfare. Proceedings NZEVA Equine Conference 2015. Chris Rogers, Charlotte Bolwell, Erica Gee