September 2017


Aligning our Equine Welfare and Aftercare efforts

The 2017/2018 season will be focused on our Journey to Excellence. While we are working on functional excellence we must ensure that we are strategically aligned with various aspects of our Stakeholders, internally in the NHA and with the industry realities.

One of the areas where we are in agreement but not necessarily aligned is the issue of the aftercare of racehorses.  While equine welfare is one of three strategic objectives of the NHA we’ve not done enough with regards to aftercare of horses. The IFAR (International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses) Conference held during the Pan American Conference resonated well with me and was the final stimulus that made it abundantly clear that the Racing Authorities must take the lead to ensure that before/during/beyond racing
care becomes embedded within the business fabric of the sport.

It’s critical that we accept that there is a DUTY OF CARE that we cannot and dare not IGNORE. The aftercare of racehorses makes Business Sense. It makes ethical Business Sense!
I will propose to our Board that we adopt the philosophical view that we need to move away from the practice that aftercare is at the mercy or the goodwill gestures of a few individuals with good conscience. Also, that we move towards embedding post racing options within the essence and fabric of our business practice. It must become the responsibility of all involved in the sport. We all benefit from the horse.  The Regulatory Authority registers, licenses or levies nearly all or most of those involved in the industry and can therefore exercise the first call to action with regards to the DUTY OF CARE.  We must institutionalise before/during/post racing care and now specifically post racing options.

Furthermore, I will propose to the National Board that in order to enshrine this into our modus operandi, we need to take the first step and ensure that it’s an expense item in our budget. This means that we will have to re-prioritise our business operational expenditure to incorporate this aspect as part of our normal business practice.  This is NOT OPTIONAL.

We hopefully will not look to reinvent the wheel but rather consolidate our many disparate
goodwill and well-meaning but uncoordinated programmes. This is where alignment becomes important. We the NHA must play an umbrella role and steer the industry efforts around an overall focused, consolidated, aligned and institutionalised programme. Collaboration with industry lobbyists, roleplayers and activists will be non-negotiable to identify post racing options and various service delivery agents, venues and best practise programmes. Some of these initiatives will include but not be limited to:
• Retraining for Equestrian competitions
• Therapeutic uses
• Educational opportunities
• Identifying sanctuaries for horsecare
• A process of retraining for other useful purposes

My opinion is that, the earlier in the lifespan of the horse we start the exit planning, the better. The Racing Authority must make the first budgetary sacrifice/commitment. It then becomes easier to solicit from others to build a sustainable programme. A mining company must rehabilitate minefields and affected communities. It’s an expense item and budget provision. Oil Companies have environmental rehabilitation budgets. The question is - what makes us any different?

In conclusion, Horseracing must have the post racing welfare at the core of its responsible business practice. It must be uncompromising of this as part of our DUTY OF CARE programme – before/during/beyond racing just as we should care for all the people in our employ which can’t also be neglected.

What one horse owner did in the face of Hurricane Irma and the words she used to describe it:

Hey Irma,

Our bodies may be beaten, battered, and cut up preparing for your wrath, but there is one thing you cannot take from us, that is our spirit and sheer determination to do whatever it takes to be the winners! Not only are we Americans who are strong and stand together, we are Floridians who improvise when you are faced with a storm like this.

And when you add crazy horse person to the mix, you get animal parents who will go to the ends of the earth to keep them safe. The result is......4 horses in your living room! I chose not to evacuate because my guys are old. I was afraid the stress of evacuating would be worse than creating a temporary barn in our living room.

International guidance on the supplementation of Cobalt in the racehorse

Cobalt is an important element for the health of the racehorse. It is however also easily over supplemented in excessive amounts in the belief that this is beneficial to the horse and that it could enhance its performance. The NHA has previously provided a clear guidance on the administration of supplemental cobalt to the horse and this notice is available on the NHA website. The NHA is a signatory country to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities. This international body has now provided additional guidance, which is also made available on the NHA website.

This IFHA advisory document is summarised and clarified below:

A normal race horse diet is more than sufficient to meet a horse’s nutritional requirements for cobalt and vitamin B12.

From evidence to date, as a guide:
no more than 1 mg of cobalt from a single dose by injection and;
no more than 5 mg by mouth   
should be given to the horse within the day preceding race day.

Injectable cobalt supplements offer no nutritional advantages because incorporation of cobalt into the vitamin B12 molecule occurs within the horse’s gut.
Neither cases of cobalt deficiency nor disease for which cobalt is the indicated treatment have been documented in the horse.
Vitamin B12 contains cobalt; the simultaneous use of multiple supplements containing cobalt and vitamin B12 risks breaching the threshold.


The NHA assists with positive finding prevention and resolution.

The control of prohibited and forbidden substances in horseracing is critical for the integrity of the sport.  For the international status and recognition of our horses and our races it is important that the screening and subsequent prosecution process is to internationally agreed standards and requirements.  Within this requirement the NHA is of the opinion that it has the responsibility to assist with the prevention of positive findings.  Additionally when these positive findings do however occur, there is the responsibility to assist in resolving these with clarity and fairness.

The following measures are in place to assist with this:

There is a clear guidance on the substances which are prohibited and forbidden.
Where possible, there is clear guidance on the use of therapeutic substances and the doses of such substances.
Where available, there is clear guidance on the detection times of therapeutic substance treatments.
There are documents to provide clarity on the range of threshold substances and then additionally those substances which have screening limits or residue limits.

When positive finding are declared then these are associated with a comprehensive positive report as to explain the results and to show compliance to the international prosecution requirements.
Within positive finding inquiries clarity is provided on the application of the relevant prosecution thresholds and screening limits and it is explained how the positive finding exceed these prosecution concentration.
Within such inquiries explanation is provided on the methods and processes followed within the Laboratory and how the quality and the controls of these are to the benefit of the trainer and owner in providing a high security and accuracy of results.


3rd year apprentice Denis Schwarz, known as “DW” to family and friends, has made a full and successful recovery having been off race riding for 6 months
since he fell, galloping a juvenile filly on the 29th of January, where he tore ligaments in his right knee.

Schwarz is quite pragmatic about the injury, saying “accidents and injuries happen in all sports, whether you’re a professional rugby player or jockey, injuries are part of the game and you need to accept them, recover properly from them and comeback stronger than you were before!”  The road to recovery for this young apprentice has been a long one, initially he was in a plaster cast for 6 weeks, followed by a brace and crutches for another 6 weeks.

After this, Schwarz started working with the Biokineticist and Sport Scientist at the South African Jockey Academy, for another 3 months to fully recover and return to race riding. Schwarz said the injury and recovery has taught him to be patient saying “I had just ridden 26 winners when the injury happened and was going for a hat trick of wins on the filly
“DRESSED FOR SUCCESS” trained by Mr Lafferty.  Naturally I was upset as I knew I was going to be off riding for a long time, which meant I wouldn’t achieve the goals I had set myself. I had to accept, deal with and overcome this setback. I focused on my recovery and worked hard to regain my fitness, endurance and strength. I’ve reassessed my goals for last season and have set myself revised goals for the new season!”

Since returning to race riding on 3 August, the young apprentice has had 50 rides with 4 winners and 16 places and if he keeps up the hard work his dedication and passion will surely see him achieve his goals in the new season.

On 22 and 23 September, Dr Jones of the NHA attended a seminar on farriery presented by Specialist Veterinary Podiatrist, Dr Steve O’Grady and Specialist Farrier, Jeff Ridley. Two very knowledgeable and renowned personalities in the world of equine feet.

The seminar was well attended by Veterinarians and Farriers alike and highlighted the importance of a close bond between these professions on approaching all breeds and disciplines. “No hoof, no horse” could not ring more true. Emphasis was placed on the basics of biomechanics and the importance of reading the foot and conformation before deciding on how to shoe it.  Dr O’Grady spent much time explaining biomechanics and the relationship between hoof balance and what he termed the “centre of rotation”. By applying these principles, abnormal forces acting on joints, tendons and ligaments are minimized and the performance of the horse optimized.

The speakers used numerous radiographs and case studies to illustrate the impact of sensible trimming on overall hoof health. Radiographic imaging is clearly essential to accurately trimming or shoeing. Especially when formulating a game plan and considering the longevity and integrity of the athlete’s hoof. Some mistakes that are made when deciding on a corrective shoe were pointed out and we trust that it will become less common as the industry familiarises itself with newer and sounder techniques. The start of our breeding season prompted an insightful extension to the agenda on the trimming
and treatment of conditions affecting foals. The application of basic anatomy and the forces acting on the foot of the foal was approached similarly to that of the adult with a selection of case studies being illustrated. The improvements shown in angular limb deformities and flexural abnormalities without surgical intervention were remarkable. The decision on when to allow or restrict exercise in affected foals was discussed and the basis thereof explained.

Dr O’Grady invited all Veterinarians and Farriers to visit his website and take the time to study some of the techniques used.  The NHA would like to remind trainers and farriers
to familiarize themselves with the rules regarding shoes that are allowed and those which require special permissions. We welcome any queries regarding this and will gladly assist where possible.  We hope to see ongoing cooperation between Farriers and Veterinarians and would like to thank the organisers for an insightful and well received contact session. This not only benefits our horses, but is sure to widen our knowledge and understanding of these vital structures.

Tribute to Jockey, Alec Forbes
An ”absolute gentleman” was the common thread when the shocked racing community reminisced the late Alec Forbes, who passed away in hospital of pneumonia in the early hours of the morning last Thursday (24th August) having ridden a winner at Scottsville in the 8th Race just hours earlier (picture of Alec riding his last winner – Master of Mischief – for Trainer Wendy Whitehead. The hearts of all in the industry are with his wife Lezeanne (a registered trainer) and their young son Zac and also with his older offspring Jordan and Savannah.  Summerveld trainer Lezeanne sent out the Querari gelding Warfarer to win on Sunday (27th August) at Scottsville and in an emotional moment in the winner’s enclosure jockey Tristan Godden spoke for many when pointing skywards and saying, “This one is for Alec.”

Alec Forbes was clearly a dedicated horseman with a strong work ethic and will be a big loss
to racing. He would have made it in any walk of life as an enquiring mind who was an avid reader and his books and periodicals were his regular companions between races in the jockey’s room.  His riding agent of eleven years Rob Champion was particularly hard hit by the news, especially as he had spoken to him the previous evening and congratulated him on his winner. He said, “We have always been close friends, he was more like a son to me. He was always very honourable and straight shooting, the nicest guy you will ever meet, a total gentleman, the quieter type of gentleman, and an absolute pleasure to work for.”
Forbes had fine associations with the two leading KZN yards, Summerveld’s Dennis Drier
and Ashburton’s Duncan Howells.

The annual KZN Racing Awards took place at the Elangeni Hotel in Durban on the evening of Tuesday, August 29, 2017. The awards night was a glittering, fun-filled evening of outstanding entertainment, good
food and of course the honouring of the best locallytrained
horses, personalities and their achievements
over the past season and also the three months of
South Africa’s Champion Season.
The full list of awards were:
Best performance by a Two-Year Old Filly: Lady In Black
Best performance by a Two-Year Old Colt/
Gelding: Sand And Sea
Best performance by a Three-Year Old Filly: Sail
Best performance by a Three-Year Old Colt/
Gelding: Secret Captain
Best performance by an Older Horse: Ten Gun
Best performance by a Sprinter : Sand And Sea
Best performance over Middle Distance: Ten
Gun Salute
Best performance by a Stayer: Mr Winsome
Horse Of The Season: Bull Valley
Groom of the Season: Mandilakhe Mtwesi
KZN Champion owner by stakes: Mayfair
SpeculatorsKZNOTA Owner of the Year (KZN-based by
stakes earned): Roy MoodleyA

Pictured above: Mrs Julie Wilson accepting her Long-
Service award for 25 years of service from CEO of the
NHA – Mr Lyndon Barends

Every child – yours, mine and thosefrom all walks of life - need a safeplace and space In which to learnand play. Around 400 childrenfrom Diepsloot have discovered that Shumbashaba is just that place...

Shumbashaba will be holding a Yard Sale on Saturday 28thOctober and are looking for donations of household items,clothing, linen, books, toys, furniture, etc. to sell. Not only will the funds raised from the Yard Sale be put to good use, but we hope to offer quality items at really good prices for the buyers, who are usually the parents of the children (many of whom are extremely poor) who attend our Saturday program. If you do have items to donate please can they be delivered to Shumbashaba on either a Tuesday or Friday afternoon or any time between 9am – 3pm on Saturdays when Tumi who is arranging the Yard Sale will be there to receive goods.


May the coming year of your life bring you loads of happiness, wonderful memories to cherish and success in all you endeavours for the year ahead!!

The National Authority would like to wish all our Stakeholders born in October a Happy Birthday. We hope you have a great day.

Kenilworth Racing (Pty) Ltd invited local role playersto attend gallops at Durbanville Racecourse on Monday 28 August 2017.Trainers and Jockeys were asked to gallop six horses on the newly refurbished Durbanville Racecourse to test the newly laid grass.

 Ernie Rodrigues, W Ernie Rodrigues, WC Chief Stipendiary Steward,attended, and Dr Lauren Brewis, on behalf of DrEugene Reynders who was in Port Elizabeth, attendedas the NHA Veterinary Surgeon on duty.

The project of upgrading the course was started in November 2016. The entire turf surface was lifted and the cross fall of the far bend has been increased. The turn into the straight was changed to adjust the angle of the home straight through to the finish, and the pull up area has also been extended.

Feedback from all the local racing role players was good and everyone is in agreement that the track is looking good. The riders reported back that the underfoot conditions are consistent and fairly firm and they noted the improvement to the camber on the turn into the straight during the gallop on Monday.

After the horses had galloped, Dean Diedericks, and his track management team are of the opinion that the new grass has started settling but the winter temperatures have limited growth and the root bed is not yet as established as they had wanted before racing returns to Durbanville.  After some discussions a decision was taken todelay the return to Durbanville until the Settler’s Trophy meeting on 23 September 2017, in the hopes that this will give the grass roots time to knit and strengthen the root base.

Mr Dean Diedericks, his track management team and other role players had another meeting at Durbanville to check the racecourse again before the scheduled meeting of 23 September 2017.

We have now enjoyed 3 race meetings at Durbanville and the feedback has been mostly positive but the Stipendiary Stewards are of the opinion the  Jockeys are learning to ride the course with its subtle changes in rail configuration and the firm underfoot conditions
with the present water shortage and drought the Western Cape is experiencing.

Article and photos provided by Ernie Rodrigues, Chief Stipendiary Steward, WC.