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Irish Horse & Pony Racing
Official Statement March 2023

Irish Horse & Pony Racing Official Statement March 2023

Irish Horse & Pony Racing Association would like to highlight changes that have been introduced. These changes have come into place following the tragic accident that occurred at Rossbeigh Beach on 03 September 2022 involving Jack De Bromhead.

These changes have been brought about to improve safety for all children and to ensure the future of the sport.

We have also engaged an external Equestrian Health & Safety Consultant to complete a Safety Management System. Already we have introduced the following:

  • Race Stewards Safety Induction, specific to their roles.
  • Rider Registration & Risk Advisory Notice.
  • A Detailed Health & Safety Checklist to be completed at each Race Meet.
  • Internal Incident / Accident Report Forms (these will be used as a risk management tool with near miss / no injury incidents being recorded).

The following safety documentation is being compiled.

  • A Master Company Safety Statement (inclusive of a risk assessment).
  • A Steward Safety Handbook.
  • An Event Management Plan for the larger meetings.

The season will start with the opening meet taking place in Boris over the Easter Weekend. While most changes are instantaneous and will take immediate effect, some are ongoing and may take some months to implement.

We have highlighted the changes below.

Changes Implemented:

  1. The age limit to ride Horses has increased to 14 years of age. 
  2. Horses can only be ridden by participants that are 14 years old and have previously ridden Ponies in Horse and Pony Race meetings in Ireland.
  3. Newcomers: All newcomers that wish to partake in Horse and Pony Racing in Ireland from 2023 onwards are required to attend a professional jockey coach for assessment before being eligible to ride. Paperwork relating to experience should also be made available eg. Hunting Riding out work Pony Club Open days or courses attended at RACE Open days or courses attended at BRS. Assessments will be done individually. Riders may be advised to get some further coaching before being deemed fit to ride. It is the responsibility of each rider/parent/guardian to book their own coaching and assessment. Jockey coach details, Irish Jockey coach Warren O Connor. The Curragh Kildare +353 (87) 415 7593
  4. All riders will be asked to complete Training Days.
  5. Assessed and passed Newcomers will be limited to 3 races per meeting in their first year.
  6. All other riders will be limited to 4 rides per day.
  7. Riders can ride in a 5th and 6th race but must be passed fit by on site Doctor or Paramedic who will check  for signs of fatigue.
  8. A formal course walk will take place with all participants with the Track steward and where available an instructor each race day.
  9. Beach meetings are suspended indefinitely.
  10. Hats, Back protectors conforming to required standards must be worn.
  11. Gum shields must be worn.
  12. Hat & Back Protector standards will be routinely checked in the weigh in room.
  13. Betting is to be regulated, our intention is to reduce the maximum bet allowed.
  14. Weights have been standardised to 9 stone across the 4 regions.
  15. Random adhoc blood tests of ponies and horses will be increased.
  16. A designated Child Liaison Officer will be present at Meets.

Changes to be introduced:

  1. IHPRA officials will receive BETA training on the recognised hat and back protector standards and the correct fitting of both.
  2. Track stewards will receive training from an established and recognised clerk of the course.
  3. A new Rule Book is being introduced.
  4. Hat Tagging at all Race Meets.
  5. A governing body will be established incorporating all 4 regions.
  6. A Training Program to be implemented e.g. Child Safeguarding Training.