Racing of two-year old horses
Policy Type: Policy
Manual Reference: 10b
Date ratified: November 2018
The NZVA considers that the racing of two year old horses is acceptable provided the horses are adequately developed and are free of significant conformational 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 before two year old racing usually commences.
- There is good evidence that racing as a two year old does not reduce the length of a horse's racing career.
- There is evidence that horses trained or raced as two year olds may have a longer racing career and a greater number of starts.
- The NZVA recognises 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 the responsibility of the racing industry as a whole.
- There should be close attention paid to the diet, training and racing schedules of young horses to minimise 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.