Why Does Horse Racing Pose a Risk?

horse racing is a risky sport for horse and jockey

Why does horse racing pose a risk? Find out more in our article that focuses on several factors here.

Horse racing is one of the most popular sports among sports fans and gamblers alike. Millions of dollars in revenue are generated annually from horse racing, making it also one of the most lucrative businesses. Safety is paramount in the industry, with many organisations regulating and monitoring the sport. However, as with many sports, it doesn’t come without risk to the horse or the jockey.

Horses can get agitated easily, and this can cause accidents both on the track and when training. Often the jockey is also injured, this is why both athletes should be thoroughly trained and in peak fitness to minimise the effects of such incidents. In this article, we will briefly discuss statistics of accidents and injuries resulting from horse racing. Then, we will look at common injuries to both the jockey and the horse.

The Stats: The rate of accidents caused by horse racing

Several deaths of horses, in particular, caused by horse racing have been recorded throughout the history of the game. The most serious one has to be the incident at Santa Anita Park where five horses died within the first four weeks of the race season.


Meanwhile, in 2018, nearly 493 Thoroughbred horses died in the United States, as reported by the Jockey Club’s Equine Injury Database. Between December 2018 and January 2019, over forty of these deaths occurred at Santa Anita Park.

Most of the horse deaths were a result of limb injuries, which were followed by respiratory and digestive disorders. Although they have seemingly large and sturdy body frames, horses get hurt easily; horse racing is harder on them than on humans.

According to Equestrian Injuries Statistics, 3.7 injuries occur per 1,000 hours of participation in horse riding. While the number is low compared to other sports, like baseball and football, the injuries tend to be more severe. However, as veterinary science develops, the horse has a far better chance of full recovery than it did decades ago.

For instance, when compared side-by-side with hockey, injuries caused by horseback riding more frequently require hospitalization. Thankfully, while serious injuries, including head injuries, occur, horse-riding fatalities in human beings aren’t as high.

The risks of horse racing to horses

Any type of horse riding is hard on the bodies of horses, especially in racing where horses start training and on the track at an early age. Two-year-old horses have already started racing; at this age, their bones are still growing causing questions and research into whether the horse is ready to physically race. It is believed, that younger horses tend to get injured more easily than older horses; although that doesn’t mean older horses don’t get injured.


Unscrupulous racing standards have historically seen some horses drugged to make them run faster, which, unfortunately, increases the rate at which they get hurt. However, industry regulators ensure testing for such as a means to eliminate bad practice. Ongoing regulation of all racing events is essential for safe sport. If horse racing isn’t your sport, you may have chosen to play Parimatch simulated reality league cricket live.

For instance, furosemide, also known as Lasix, can be used to enhance the performance of horses. Although the drug is prescribed to treat lung bleeds, it can also cause urination, thus resulting in weight loss.

The risks of horse racing to humans

Although not as severe or frequent, horse racing poses a risk to human life as well. New riders often get told “everyone falls off” or “you become a real rider when you fall off.” While these statements are said to encourage amateur riders to not give up, it increases the chances of injuries happening.

Nevertheless, data agrees that every professional rider has fallen off a horse at some point in their riding career. The accident is harder on novice riders than on experienced riders because the latter can withstand more challenging mounts and activities, combined with a higher level of fitness.

Horse racing-related deaths have reduced from 4.9 per year, 74% of which are caused by head injuries to one by collision. When jockeys are racing at a dangerously high speed and they fall off, this can result in injuries from broken bones to head injuries. The severity of injury differs from case to case, but the chances are there nonetheless.


Horse racing is fun but poses a risk; this doesn’t mean it should be entirely abolished, but racers should be more careful. The ongoing efforts of organisations related to horse racing continue to help protect horses and jockeys should the worse happen, alongside working towards safer and tighter regulations. In all instances, it is compulsory for riders to wear protective horse riding gear to minimize the damage done in case an accident occurs.


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