Jockeys helped to make the 2013 Grand National a success. We hope that this year’s race at Aintree will also end without serious injury or fatalities.

The jockeys role is instrumental

Two horses looking over a fence © RSPCA

Last year, jockeys pulled up tired horses and those no longer in contention, playing a significant part in avoiding risk.

The minimum use of the whip by the jockeys also played a part. We’d like to see this continue as we believe that more serious whip breaches have the potential to compromise equine welfare.

Our equine consultant, David Muir said:

“The role of the jockeys in making the race safer last year was instrumental and the RSPCA hopes this will continue at Aintree this year.


“We want to see whip breaches prevented rather than occurrence and punishment. The excess whip use at some races this season has been unwelcome and we are hopeful that the standards set at Aintree last year will prevail and result in reduced whip use across the board.”

Race changes safeguarding horse welfare

We’re also hopeful that the changes made to the Aintree course in 2012 will prove themselves to be effective for the second year running, after the 2013 race ended without serious injury or death.

David added:

“Although the testing nature of the Grand National will always produce a higher level of risk, we are hopeful that the changes made so far have gone some way to create a better race with less risk of injury to the racehorse.


“We would still like racing to consider a reduction in the field from 40 to 30 horses and will continue to monitor how the race goes in this and future years.


“We would also like to stress that there is an element of risk inherent in all forms of racing. We visit not only Aintree but many racecourses every year, making recommendations where necessary.”

Highlighting horse welfare

RSPCA Groom holding horse in stable yardTo highlight the crisis facing horses not fortunate enough to be offered the levels of care and attention enjoyed by many racehorses, Aintree racecourse is hosting a stand along with us and other equine welfare organisations for the second year running.

The welfare of all equines in England and Wales is of great concern. A lack of money for food and overbreeding combined with irresponsible ownership has resulted in thousands of horses being left without proper care creating a huge challenge to already stretched equine charities.

We took in or rescued 1,797 horses in 2013 and currently have more than 800 in our care. If you would like to help horses we have rescued from appalling situations sponsor a stable block today.