Key Facts

British Racing – Key Facts and Statistics on Equine Welfare

British Racing has a track record to be proud of: British Racing is among the world's best regulated animal activities. The sport employs over 6,000 people to provide care and attention for the 14,000 horses in training, providing them with a level of care and a quality of life that is virtually unsurpassed by any other domesticated animal.

British Racing is open and transparent: Within the last 20 years, the equine fatality rate in British Racing has fallen by one-third, from 0.3% to 0.2% of runners.

British Racing has a duty of care to its horses: Since the year 2000, British Racing has invested £32 million since 2000 in veterinary research and education.


British Racing is committed to reducing the risk in racing for both horse and jockey. Despite the best efforts of all involved, as with any sport involving speed and athleticism, there remains inherent risk of injury.

Annual fatality rates are published clearly on the BHA’s website,

A study by Liverpool University found that 62% of “traumatic injuries” suffered by a sample of leisure and competition horses occurred when turned out in the field, compared to only 13% during ridden exercise.

Racecourses employ experienced veterinary surgeons and have state-of-the-art horse ambulances available to ensure the very best treatment of any injury. In the event of an incident on a racecourse

British Racing is among the world's best regulated animal activities.

The BHA works closely and openly with Government and the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare.

Among a population estimated to be around 1 million, racehorses in Britain are among the healthiest and best looked after 2% of horses in the country.

British Racing is enjoyed by around six million spectators every year and is the second most popular sport in Britain behind only football.

The highest standards of horse welfare are demanded of all jockeys, trainers and racecourses. None of the fixtures held in Britain can take place unless key BHA equine welfare criteria have been satisfied.

The standards demanded by the BHA of all licensed participants, including jockeys and trainers, far exceed those prescribed by animal welfare legislation.

An increasing number of racehorses go on to successful second careers after retiring from the track. In 2016, over 12,500 horses were registered with Retraining of Racehorses as active in equine disciplines outside of racing. 

In all, the industry invests over £600,000 each year facilitating the rehoming and retraining of racehorses.

A recent review conducted by Deloitte to obtain an accurate and up to date picture of the career paths of horses leaving training in Britain found that over 90% of horses leaving British Racing were accounted for.


Aintree have taken major evidence-based steps to make the course and Grand National as safe as possible

Ahead of the 2013 running of the Grand National the course invested more than £1.5m on safety measures at Aintree. Changes included replacing inner frames of fences to more forgiving flexible plastic

There have been no fatalities in the Grand National itself since the fences were changed after 2012. Prior to 2016, there had only been one fatality in the previous two Grand National meetings combined, from a total of 661 runners.

The BHA works with all racecourses to make improvements to welfare where evidence shows that the improvements are required and will not have unintended consequences

After careful analysis of Cheltenham horse faller data, two fences have been moved in position for 2017

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