Increase Safety at Grueling Horse Race


Target: British Horseracing Authority Steve Harman

Goal: Reduce deaths and injuries at the Grand National, a famous horse race

The Grand National is the most valuable race on the steeplechase circuit. It also one of the most dangerous. The steeplechase itself is a risky form of horse racing, in which horses run a track laced with hedges that they must leap over. But the Grand National is doubly dangerous; over four miles long, it is a grueling test of endurance, pitting forty horses against each other and featuring hedges taller than those found in other races. Safety regulations must increase to prevent continued deaths and injuries among horses.

Several gates in the Grand National are notorious for bringing down or tripping up horses. With so many participants, horses have little space in which to recover, and often bring down others that have no way to avoid falls. They may catch their hind legs if they misjudge a jump, or shatter a shoulder when they hit the ground, resulting in severe injuries that lead to euthanasia.

Because of the distance and the number of jumps, horses are ridden to exhaustion and whipped into efforts they simply cannot give, heightening the risk of falls and injury. In fact, less than 30% of horses finish this race; most are too warn out to continue or, in some cases, too injured. Others simply collapse at the end of the race.

Also in danger are jockeys, who are often thrown from their horses, and in danger of getting trampled, though there has been only one human fatality. Riderless horses are without direction, and cause collisions when they panic or become disoriented or frightened.

Safety regulations need to increase, and they must address these problems faced by horses. The Grand National has already undergone revision to improve safety, but it is not enough. More must be done to protect these horses from death or injury.


Dear Chairman Steve Harman,

The Grand National is one of the most dangerous steeplechases for horses, notorious for injuring and killing horses. In all, seven horses have died since 2000, and many others have been injured. Several gates are notorious for tripping up and felling horses, and the length of the track itself has proven exhausting. Horses have collapsed and died by the end of the race, while others simply stop, exhausted. Tired horses make mistakes, pushing themselves to extremes they cannot handle, misjudging jumps or losing their footing and stumbling.

I urge you to take further action to address the causes of death and injury, and increase track safety by whatever means necessary. It is imperative to protect horses from injury and death in the name of sport.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Paul Holloway via Wikimedia Commons

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  1. Reduce the deaths and injuries, yes. (How?) But it would make much more sense to stop steeplechase races altogether.

  2. By signing this petition, it would mean that I condone this activity to continue, but with “guidelines”. I don’t approve of this abusive race, so I cant sign. These horses need to be RESCUED. Let’s start a petition for that!

  3. Terrie Phillips says:

    I am so sick of the way humans treat animals. Humans are the cruel beast that haunt the dreams of nature. They will stop at nothing for money or entertainment. They beat, torture, boil, starve, work to death, experiment on, skin, (alive) on and on helpless animals. The human mind seems to crave being a spectator of misery and cruelty at the expense of an animal. O don’t forget they do it to each other to. I am so glad that there are people who step up and make a difference every day in the life of a animal. Together we can change things.


  5. Heather Tate says:

    I have worked in racing for many years and I think the grand national should be changed. For one it is too long, at most it should be four miles, it is 4 1/2 now. All the jumps should be made the same height as normal fences but if necessary keep them in grand national style. Also the whip rule should be much different for this race than any other. I have led horses up for this race as part of my job and i hated it as there is a huge chance they will not come back. There is no need to ask horse to do these jumps over this distance, remember jason mcguire getting off his horse after winning as it needed oxygen – this is not normal to push horses like this they will die trying for us! Thats not sport!!!

  6. kay allan says:

    it is such a shame that everyone is money mad, no one really seems to care about the animals, why make them do such stupid things, if i had a horse and loved it i would not want it to enter any of these races, it should all be stopped.

  7. Helene Beck Helene Beck says:

    The British Horse Racing Austhority doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the Grand National, they say: “BHA and Aintree are committed to the welfare of horses and the race has undergone extensive alterations in the best interests of the equine athletes.”
    They then refer to these articles:
    And this one:

    Racing is cruel to horses regardless of small changes that may be done, – horses deserve far better than to be maimed or killed just to entertain heartless people. Let’s work together to stop horse racing…

  8. Peggy Jakopak says:

    I will sign this petition, although I do not agree with it as it stands. Don’t regulate these races, ban them. These beautiful animals deserve better.

  9. The horse’s needs & wants should be a priority — everything else is secondary — the horse is NOT signing on to be used & abused — WE MUST BE THEIR VOICE — these horses need to be protected, cared for and cared about … anything less is cruel, unconscionable, immoral, shameful, brutal and SHOULD BE ILLEGAL!

  10. That’s why MAKING IT LAW — protections for horses — IS VERY IMPORTANT — if you cannot reach people to do the right thing, you FORCE them, MAKE them, by creating a LAW! Then, they HAVE TO listen, they MUST listen!

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