I think it’s fair to say that most people agree with, and respect the direction orders that government departments have ruled should be followed by HRNZ and industry participants. However, now that we are becoming accustomed to conditions under Level 4, maybe it’s time to revisit a couple of the protocols before (heaven forbid) we are shut down again.
First of all, the rules on exercising horses obviously refer to the thoroughbred variety and, as we all know, they are very different beasts to standardbreds in many ways. I understand a couple of laps jogging is pretty much all many gallopers will do in normal circumstances, however the majority of standardbreds can jog for half an hour or more many days a week. Apparently, these protocols are aimed at avoiding harm to humans and possibly taking up medical resources that may be needed to treat Covid patients. Trouble with that is two-fold. First of all, may standardbreds are jogged tied to a machine which has no human contact other than sitting in the vehicle pulling it. Secondly, while I’m only a novice at the horse training game, a couple of professionals I’ve spoken to confirm my thoughts, that a standardbred who has jogged only two laps of a track, or even used a walker, is going to be far more hyped and likely to cause injury than one who has jogged for half an hour and is tired.
Now we come to the issue of laps. If a trainer uses a 600 metre track and does two laps of it, how does that relate to someone who has access to say, a 1600 metre track? Surely it would make more sense to set a time limit of some kind if there has to be a limit at all.
We all want to do the right thing by the Country and prevent problems associated with the spread of this damn thing, but having some person sitting behind a desk in Wellington making rules and protocols that, if anything, are more likely to cause accidents than not, needs some attention. Maybe organising a stable visit to educate that person would be a good idea.