Welfare Guidelines for horseracing

Welfare Guidelines for horseracing

72.1.10 tamper with any HORSE, abuse or ill-treat any HORSE or permit the HORSE to be ridden by a rider making use of spurs;

This rule covers any physical abuse of a horse, such as (but not limited to) hitting or kicking a horse, neglect (malnutrition/poor body condition, poor stable conditions), not providing veterinary care etc.
72.1.14 use or be party to the use of any electric, electronic, mechanical or galvanic apparatus or equipment, directly or indirectly, on or in relation to any HORSE, which may adversely impact or affect the welfare of the HORSE;

Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT): is an example of a procedure covered by his rule. Shock wave therapy has an analgesic effect, which becomes a welfare issue. Injuries can be masked with this treatment, increasing the chance of a horse exacerbating an injury, or breaking down because it will not guard or protect a painful area. In some cases, like bucked shins, ESWT can cause further damage to the existing condition, again increasing the chance of a horse breaking down.

This rule also covers the use of (but not limited to) electric spurs, electric whips, and prodders of any kind.


40.1 Yearlings shall not run in any RACE.
40.2 Two-year-olds foaled south of the equator and two year olds foaled north of the equator between 1 August and 31 December shall not run:-
40.2.1 before 1 October;
40.2.2 twice on the same day;
40.2.3 with older HORSES before 1 April;
40.2.4 in RACES of less than 1000M after 15 January;
40.2.5 in RACES of more than 1200M before 15 February;
40.2.6 in RACES of 2000M until 1 May;
40.2.7 in RACES exceeding 2000M.
40.3 No HORSE foaled north of the equator between 1 January and 31 July shall be eligible to run as a two-year old.
40.4 Three-year-olds and upwards shall not run less than 1000M at any RACE MEETING or at any other meeting, except where special permission has been granted in terms of the RULES.
40.5 No HORSE shall run in more than one RACE on the same day.


Rule 58.10.1 No RIDER shall misuse a crop or use a crop in an unnecessary or excessive manner or use a crop on any part of a HORSE’S head.
This rule covers any inappropriate use of the crop, or use that would be considered abuse of the horse.

The following guidelines are published in order to advise all RIDERS of the proper manner in which the crop should be used.
The NATIONAL BOARD of the NATIONAL HORSERACING will not allow abuse of the HORSE and consider its welfare to be of utmost importance. The crop should be used for encouragement, guidance and correction. RIDERS are advised to regard the following as appropriate ways of using the crop but the list is not exhaustive:
1. Showing the HORSE the crop and giving it time to respond before hitting it.
2. Having used the crop, giving the HORSE an opportunity to respond.
3. Keeping both hands on the reins when using the crop down the shoulder in the backhand position.
4. Using the crop in rhythm with the HORSE’S stride and close to its side.
5. Showing the crop to keep the HORSE running straight.
6. Using the crop in the backhand position for a reminder.
The following are examples of crop use which may be regarded as unnecessary and/or excessive in terms of RULE 58.10.2:
a) Hitting a HORSE to the extent of causing injury
b) Hitting a HORSE with the crop arm above shoulder height.
c) Hitting a HORSE more than three times on consecutive strides.
d) Hitting a HORSE with excessive force.
e) Hitting a HORSE without giving it time to respond.
f) Hitting a HORSE which is showing no response.
9) Hitting a HORSE which is out of contention for a place.
h) Hitting a HORSE which is clearly winning.
i) Hitting a HORSE which is past the winning post.
j) Hitting a HORSE whilst the jockey is dismounted.
k) Hitting a HORSE out of its stride pattern.
l) Hitting a HORSE on the flank.
m) Hitting a HORSE with excessive frequency.
n) Hitting a HORSE on any part of its head.
When considering cases of excessive frequency the STIPENDIARY STEWARDS will consider factors such as:
–  whether the number of hits was reasonable and necessary over the distance
–  they were given, taking into account the HORSE’S experience;
–  whether the HORSE was continuing to respond and
–  the degree of force that was used, the more times a HORSE has been hit the stricter will be the view taken over the degree of force which is reasonable.
It must be noted that the use of the crop may be considered to be proper or improper in circumstances which have not been listed above.

Riders that have marked a horse (caused wheals on the hindquarter or flank) will be reprimanded and/or given a fine of R2000 or more, at the discretion of the veterinary surgeon and/or stipes.

There is no rule governing the racing of pregnant mares, but the welfare guideline used is that a pregnant mare should not race past 120 days of gestation.