Two Horses Die at Newbury Racecourse; Electrocution Suspected

Two horses collapsed and died in the paddock on Feb. 12 at the Newbury Racecourse in Berkshire, England, according to a report from An investigation into the cause of the horses' deaths is under way, but initial reports indicate that the horses might have been electrocuted.

"Whilst there are suspicions that an electrical fault was the cause and this is being looked into by the racecourse and relevant authorities, it is important that we investigate other possible causes," said Tim Morris, DVM, PhD, director of equine science and welfare for the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) in a statement on the Newbury Racecourse website. "Both horses have been sent for post-mortem examinations, and samples from both horses ... have been taken and will be analyzed.

"We will also be testing a sample of the water supply and have secured and will review all of the closed circuit television footage from the racecourse stables and footage from the parade ring itself at the time," he continued in the statement. "We have gathered evidence and statements at the racecourse from the connections involved with the incident, including trainers, jockeys, stable staff and owners, the racecourse and BHA veterinary officers, and the racecourse executive including the health and safety officer."

The report on states that some parties involved reported "getting shocks off the horses" before and after the animals collapsed.

The BHA and officials from the Southern Electric Power Distribution company are conducting the investigation.

About the Author

Erica Larson, News Editor

Erica Larson, news editor, holds a degree in journalism with an external specialty in equine science from Michigan State University in East Lansing. A Massachusetts native, she grew up in the saddle and has dabbled in a variety of disciplines including foxhunting, saddle seat, and mounted games. Currently, Erica competes in eventing with her OTTB, Dorado.

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