One Fit Hurdles
/ by /   Hurdle / 0 comments

New One Fit Hurdles

Newton Abbot was the first racecourse to trial the ‘one fit’ padded hurdles, with the trial commencing in March 2013.
The hurdle design was researched and developed by Richard Linley with British Horseracing Authority support and consists of a modified hurdle frame with a custom fitted close cell foam pad instead of the traditional birch. The hurdle was developed principally to reduce the risk of horse injuries and since the start of the trial refinements have been made to the shape of the pad and the hurdle frame itself, prior to Taunton being the second racecourse to participate in the trial from October 2014.
When the Racecourse Committee met in September 2015, they reviewed the up to date results of the ‘one fit’ padded hurdle trial and agreed they were extremely positive and that the trial should be extended to gather additional data. Since then Bangor has become the latest racecourse to adopt the ‘one fit’ padded hurdles, this summer they replaced all of their traditional birch hurdles with the new design with the meeting on the 29th July seeing them in use for the first time.
Watt Fences has provided all of Bangor’s replacement hurdles and found very little change to the construction of the frame from the traditional hurdle but there are added component parts, i.e., hurdle caps, vinyl sleeve on top rail and rubber matting over the bottom board.
Results from the trial have so far suggested a positive improvement in overall horse injuries, especially those superficial injuries which potentially keep horse off the course for a period of time, and there has also been a reduction in hurdle damage with fewer rail and leg breakages.
“It has taken quite some time to get where we are now, and I am very appreciative of the efforts of the team at Newton Abbot in particular for being so bold in kicking the whole project off. The results so far have been very, very encouraging, not only in less superficial injuries but also less fallers compared to the national average, and it has also been very positive from the Ground staff’s point of view due to reduced time for repairing damaged hurdles. Let us hope that results continue to demonstrate the value of adopting the new design, and thanks also to Watt Fences for making the necessary changes the traditional hurdle design.” Richard Linley, BHA Senior Inspector of Courses.
In addition to Bangor, the use of the ‘One Fit’ padded hurdles is to be extended to Exeter, Kelso and Uttoxeter Racecourses for the coming season.