Royal Ascot: Ensuring the Safety and Welfare of Horses and Jockeys

The safety and welfare of horses and jockeys is paramount at Royal Ascot.

In recent years several major changes have been made to the racecourse to improve welfare standards.

ON TRACK

During the redevelopment between 2004–2006, a safer race track was created by cambering the home and old paddock bends and removing the road crossing over the track, replacing them with underpasses.

UNSADDLING ENCLOSURE

Further improvements to equine welfare provision were made as part of a £700,000 project to create a new enhanced unsaddling area in 2016. Increased in size to accommodate large field races more comfortably, the Unsaddling Enclosure lawn is positioned to benefit from maximum shade from the crown of an adjacent mature tree as well as a repositioned tulip tree, which sits to the south of the oval. Equine misting fans were also installed to aid with post-race cooling of horses.

IRRIGATION

The Flat Course Pop-Up irrigation system underwent a £150,000 overhaul in 2017. All 300 of the pop ups around the track were replaced and a new filter system fitted to the pump station delivering a more efficient watering system.

VETS

Five specifically qualified equine vets are on duty every day at Royal Ascot, dedicated to the welfare of all the horses. During each race, vets follow the runners by car and can respond to and attend an incident generally within a minute – as fast as the paramedic teams responsible for jockeys.

There are three equine ambulances on course at all times and three ambulances for any incidents involving injuries to jockeys. Ascot’s two permanent veterinary boxes are supplemented with an X-Ray machine to assist with swift diagnosis before administration of treatment on site or any movement necessary to equine hospitals.

DOCTORS

The jockeys’ facilities at Ascot include a medical treatment room, rest rooms and a dedicated room for physiotherapy. There are six doctors on site specifically to deal with any jockey injuries.

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