British Charity: Becher’s Brook Needs To Go

by | 03.25.2013 | 6:16pm

Despite changes made to this year's edition of the famous Grand National steeplechase at Aintree, officials at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals still contend that the well-known Becher's Brook jump should be removed for the safety of contestants.

The jump, which is 4 feet 10 inches and features a 5-foot 6-inch drop on the landing side, was the site of three falls last year even after officials reduced the height of the drop.

Although RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said that Aintree and the British Horse Racing Authority responded to the majority of his concerns following last year's race, but he still worries about Becher's, as well as the 40-horse field in the race.

“We will be there in force, to watch out for what's happening and to assist in any way we can, for example with catching the loose horses. We're all hoping for an injury-free event, with the focus on the athleticism of the horses and the skills of the jockeys,” said Grant.

Read more at The Guardian

  • John F. Greenhaw

    I finally get it. It all makes perfect sense to me now.
    The Brits will not allow modern medicine to be used, but they have no qualms sending 40 gallant steeds crashing down 5 1/2 feet to an uncertain ending.
    Yes, we Americans are so out of touch with what’s in the horses best interests. Clearly, we must change the way we do things here in America, and get in step with the 2/3 of the rest of the world!

  • blunny

    They probably have a deal to sell broken horses to Oklahoma for slaughter

  • Michael Fisher

    Leave it alone.

  • CB

    Small fact for you here; in the 1960’s there was only one fatality. In the next 20 years, after lowering some of the fences, there were 12 fatalities and since the 1990’s until now, after the most significant modifications to the course, lowering fences and filling in the drop at Beechers, there have been 21 fatalities.

  • elkton stable

    Aintree is one of the best designed race courses in the world. It is the international standard for defining a truly great horse. All these fences are challenging but reasonable for experienced jumpers and their riders. Diminishing this race in any way will have the insidious effect of lowering the standard of horse and horsemanship required to achieve success in this sport. There is far greater danger here as it hastens the demise of an art that is already threatened. Those that whine about this contest I would wager have never experienced the lifetime tgrill of partnering up with a good chaser. This is one of the last venues on this planet that affords us the privelege of joining with another life form other than our own.

  • No Drugs Racing

    John Greenhaw obviously knows little about racing in the USA and the UK. Even if all 40 of the horses in the Grand National died the UK would still be thousands of racing fatatlities behind the USA flatracing. Many owners in the USA are just as guilty as the trainers and vets for their addiction to equine drugs. The recent fatalities in the Grand National are due to the so called do-gooders like Greenhaw interfering in a subject of which they no nothing, they put so much pressure on the authorities to make the fences softer. All this has done is increase the speed and injuries during the race. The jockeys themselves have requested that the fences become more substantional because the horses jump them better that way. The lifetime expectancy for a flat horse in the USA is 6 years old whereas the steeplechase horses in the UK the lifetime expectancy is 19 years old. Nearly all the retired steeplechasers go on to other equine pursuits and have a great life.

    • John F. Greenhaw

      Easy there No Drugs Racing, no need you pitchin a fit at me.
      I’ve been called alot of things in my life, but a do-gooder is not one of them. Thanks!

    • jack

      “Even if all 40 of the horses in the Grand National died the UK would still be thousands of racing fatatlities behind the USA flatracing.”………

      I’d bet any amount that the % of jumpers who die on the track is considerably higher than US flat racing, relative to starts. And when was the last time a horse did NOT die on the Aintree racecourse during the Grand National?

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