Racing Victoria believes that education is the best way to prevent injury and maintain horse health. Below are a series of resources to assist Trainers and equine professionals with the care of their horses and broaden their knowledge on modern horse management techniques.

The Department of Equine Welfare and Veterinary Services supports Racing Victoria Integrity Services in maintaining the integrity, quality and safety of the racing product.

The department plays a key role in doping control, medication management and the health, safety and welfare of the racehorse.

Racing Victoria Procedure - Racing in Hot Weather
This procedure details how Racing Victoria (RV) will manage the safety and welfare of its employees, racing participants and race horses during periods of hot weather experienced at race meetings and official trials. To read the Racing in Hot Weather Guidelines, click here.
Injecting Joints of Race Horses
Click here to download information regarding Injecting Joints of Race Horses.  
Best Health Practice for Victorian Thoroughbred Racing Industry 
The twenty basic steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of a disease emergency are simple! But even simple measures can often be overlooked.

The best line of defence is an alert and prepared horse industry that incorporates best health practice into daily routine and considers exotic diseases when something unexpected and unusual happens.

The complex structure and mobility of the horse industry increase its vulnerability. Hence the critical importance of routine use of best health practice in the industry. By incorporating some simple rules into the daily routine, trainers, breeders and owners could break the chain of spread of an exotic disease if one ever entered Australia.

View the full list of recommendations
Catastrophic Fractures in Racing Thoroughbreds; Can they be prevented?
Dr Christopher M Riggs, The Hong Kong Jockey Club

Catastrophic fractures have been identified as the most common cause of racetrack fatalities. The majority of distal limb fractures in racehorses are fatigue fractures that result from accumulation of damage over time. Fatigue is a complex process and is influenced by a number of factors. Chris discusses the adaption of bone to exercise; the process of bone repair; factors contributing to overwhelming the bones ability to repair; early detection/screening for at risk horses.

For a copy of the presentation please email
Stress Fractures
Dr Chris Whitton, Equine Centre, University of Melbourne.

Catastrophic fatigue fractures of the distal limb are the most common cause of Victorian racetrack fatalities. Early detection of fatigue injury and the development of training strategies that reduce the risk of injury will therefore have a significant positive impact on the welfare of Thoroughbreds. Bone avoids fatigue fracture by replacement through re-modelling and by adapting to increasing loads through modelling.

For more information on this topic please email
Palmar Osteochondral Disease
Dr Christopher M Riggs, The Hong Kong Jockey Club

One type of joint disease, which results from subchondral bone injury and affects the joints of the lower leg, is palmar osteochondral disease (POD). This condition is found in horses undergoing the repetitive, high-speed exercise characteristic of race training. Factors that decrease the incidence of POD include horses which have long intervals between races and horses with good foot conformation.

For more information on this topic please email
Preparation for Emergency Services at a Race Meet/Equestrian Event
Dr Christopher M Riggs, The Hong Kong Jockey Club

A Veterinarian officiating and or on duty at an equestrian sporting event faces some unique challenges. Efficient provision of equine veterinary services at an event requires pre-planning. Chris provides in details on; understand the event; getting to know the organization; becoming familiar with the venue; developing policies & protocols; building a team; ensuring good communications; transport; managing particular concerns; becoming media savvy.

For a copy of the presentation please email
Immediate First Air to get a Horse off the Racecourse
Dr Christopher M Riggs, The Hong Kong Jockey Club

Appropriate first aid and preparation for transport is essential for a successful outcome. This presentation covers preparation, assessment, and decision making, and appropriate first aid, limb stabilization, prevention of further injury, protecting an open wound, facilitating walking a horse onto a trailer, transport of a horse to an equine hospital.

For a copy of the presentation please email
First Aid and Preparation for Transport
Dr Chris Whitton, Equine Centre, University of Melbourne.

Appropriate first aid and preparation for transport is essential for a successful outcome. This presentation covers emergency management of tendon and ligament injuries, lacerations and other wounds and management of an acutely lame horse.

For a copy of the presentation please email
Legal, Welfare and Insurance Considerations
Dr Geoff Hazard

The safety and welfare of jockeys and horses is the paramount concern.

The ORV should have a thorough knowledge of the many factors that affect the decision to euthanize an injured racehorse. Clinical experience, awareness of the latest advances in the treatment of traumatic injuries and an understanding of the law and mortality insurance contracts are necessary.

When assessing the need for euthanasia and when communicating that necessity to Trainers, Owners and the public the following Euthanasia Guidelines published by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) provide the basic principles that assist in making and justifying humane decisions regarding euthanasia of horses.

For a copy of the presentation please email
Managing the Recumbent Horse
Dr Grace Forbes:

A horse that remains recumbent after a fall or incident can present a diagnostic and management challenge.

For a copy of the presentation please email
Euthanasia on the Race Course
Dr Brian Stewart:

The incidence of serious racing injury in Victorian racing is very low by international standards but from time to time it will be a necessary euthanase a horse that has suffered a catastrophic injury.

The management of serious racing injuries can be a dangerous, emotive and technically challenging task which may have to be performed under difficult circumstances. It is absolutely critical that every racing injury that does occur is managed promptly, humanely, with awareness of public sensitivities and to a very high professional standard.
It is incumbent on vets to be well prepared to respond to such incidents despite the very unlikely event that they occur.

For a copy of the presentation please email
Screening Limits
Presentation explaining screening limits, detection times and recommended withdrawal period for therapeutic drugs.

Click to download the RIRDC Publication “Detection Times For Equine Medications”.

For a copy of the presentation please email
Water Exercise 
Click here to download information regarding Water Exercise.
Time off racing helps horses race for longer and avoid injuries

Professor Chris Whitton BVSc FANZCVS PhD, Equine Centre, University of Melbourne.

Trainers and owners know that racehorses need periods of time away from the rigours of racing and race training to stay at their peak and avoid injury. Research from the University of Melbourne Equine Centre has confirmed how important these spells from racing are to maintain bone and joint health.

Click here to download information regarding this topic.

For more information, please email:

Plants Poisonous to Horses

Plants Poisonous to Horses

Be aware of toxic plants growing in Australian and develop an understanding of the factors that influence the risk of poisoning will help horse owners keep their horses safe. Pasture management decisions and landscaping decisions should be made with consideration to plants that are potentially poisonous to horses.

Download Australian Field Guide

Author Disclaimer:

The information contained in this publication is intended for general use to assist public knowledge and discussion and to help improve the development of sustainable industries. The information should not be relied upon for the purpose of a particular matter. Specialist and/or appropriate legal advice should be obtained before any action or decision is taken on the basis of any material in this document.

The purpose of this operational manual is to provide an outline of the relevant guidelines, standard operating procedures, policies, rules, and regulations and provide other documents necessary to enable veterinary practitioners to carry out their important roles.

It provides general advise to veterinary practitioners of the expectations of the racing industry for their compliance with both the letter and spirit of the regulation of horse racing. Information is provided to assist veterinary practitioners in achieving this compliance.

Download the Operational Manual here

Manual Disclaimer

The information contained in this operational manual is presented for the purpose of providing guidance to Veterinary Practitioners in the performance of veterinary services relating to events organised under the auspices of Racing Victoria, as to the standards of behaviour expected of such veterinarians at such events.

The guidance and content of this operational manual is not intended to constitute the terms or basis of any legal obligation owed by Racing Victoria, whether in contract, nor any enforceable legal rights on behalf of any Veterinary Practitioner, racing industry participant, nor any other enforceable legal obligations on the part of Racing Victoria.

The full disclaimer can be found within the manual itself on pages 6 and 7.