What legal considerations arise in the horse racing industry?

Date: Aug 31, 2015

The horse racing sector is an important one right across Australia, with the country well known for the quality of this industry.

While the sector is valuable, there are a number of specific legal considerations that accompany the horse racing sector that require specialised advice from an equine lawyer.

To assist, here are three areas within the horse racing industry that might warrant legal advice:

1) Jockey Licencing

Jockeys, apprentice jockeys and those riding in amateur events will each require different variations of a jockey licence in order to ensure they are legally entitled to take part in a race.

There are a number of criteria that individuals will need to meet in order to work as a jockey. This can include not being licenced as a trainer or bookmaker and holding public liability insurance.

2) Jockey insurance and WHS

Because of the highly specialised nature of the horse racing industry, there are specific work health and safety (WHS) requirements that come with the sector, and unique compensation requirements in the event of an injury.

Jockey insurance is required by every individual riding horses competitively and is essential in the event an injury prevents a jockey from being able to compete further. It is also a condition of being awarded a Jockey licence that the applicant hold public liability insurance in case a third-party is harmed as a result of their behaviour. 

3) Animal welfare

Like all professions that involve working with animals, there are strict industry rules and national legislation that affects the way horses are managed off the track and while in a competition.

As these rules advance, both jockeys and those involved in managing training and breeding horses will need to stay ahead of these trends and ensure they are conforming to these set requirements. This involves meeting with the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW), as well as specific legislation and codes of conduct that relate to areas like transporting horses.

Given the breadth of legal considerations that can arise in the horse racing industry, it is important that those working in the sector have the legal advice and expertise to ensure they can respond to these challenges. Consulting with a horse racing lawyer can provide the depth of experience necessary to address these challenges.