Horse Safety & Welfare

The Queen’s Cup Steeplechase, produced by the non-profit Charlotte Steeplechase Foundation, is the biggest tailgating and equestrian event in the Charlotte region and North Carolina where the stars, of course, are the horses.

It is the welfare of these wonderful and beautiful horses, which is the primary concern for the Queen’s Cup management and they are the reason why the Charlotte Steeplechase Foundation has invested heavily in course design and on-going and year-long maintenance of the course.

The racecourse was designed with safety being the first consideration. The racecourse is tended to and mowed weekly from late March through early December. With the assistance of one of its main sponsor TruGreen, the racecourse is fertilized, aerated, overseeded, top dressed and irrigated at considerable expense to the organization. In fact, the Queen’s Cup budgets over $100,000 a year designated as course maintenance. Beyond the racecourse, the Queen’s Cup works at being proactive to injuries of our equine athletes and jockeys.

Prior to the first post, every horse scheduled to run later in the afternoon, is examined back in the stable area by at least two licensed Veterinarians who are looking for sometimes subtle inconsistencies of the soundness of each horse. Any question of soundness are immediately brought to the attention of the horse’s trainer and reported to the Presiding Steward who, with the input of the vets, make a determination as to whether the horse is sound to run. If not, the trainer is notified and the horse is declared scratched from the race. At the start of every race, each horse is once again observed by the Vet and again, any inconsistencies or question of soundness are brought to the attention of the starter and the Presiding Steward.

“Excellent preparation, planning and co-operation are needed to ensure that the event runs as smoothly as possible”, said Bill Price, Co-Race Chairman of the Queen’s Cup Steeplechase.

Any horse who comes into the care of the veterinary staff at Queen’s Cup could not be in better hands. In the event a horse is injured or falls during the course of the race or afterwards, the Vets are immediately notified by radio as is a Horse Ambulance, professionally staffed by Moore County Equine Emergency Response Unit, who are on hand in case any runners need to be transported off of the racecourse. It is important to note that the erection of the screens around a horse are designed to calm a fractious horse while also allowing the professionals to work in a calm and quiet environment. Do not assume the worst when the screens go up.

The Queen’s Cup oversees a whole army of specialists and staff who are on duty looking after the needs of both horses and jockeys, as well as the thousands of racegoers who flock to the one day event every year.

We have an extensive briefing prior to the meeting itself, which includes running through things such as procedures. We go through the various scenarios that could arise to ensure that we are, as far as we possibly can be, equipped for every eventuality. Of course, there are always events which happen that cannot be foreseen. But we all work as hard as possible to ensure that any problems that arise are dealt with efficiently and professionally.