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Easterby right to feel aggrieved as BHA deems rein a potential risk

Colin Russell feels the tack accessory helps and not hinders horse and rider

Mick Easterby's device is intended to stop horses ducking under the gate before the start
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For once we can forgive Mick Easterby for spitting. When a safety device he invented 20 years ago and has used on and off ever since without a problem is suddenly deemed unsafe by the BHA he is surely entitled to spit blood.

If a horse is going to dive under the front gates of the starting stalls the first thing it does is put its head down. If it cannot put its head down then it is highly unlikely even to try and go under the gates.

Easterby's rein is attached to the bit on its bridle at the front, and secured under its tail with something called a crupper at the rear. In the stalls it is taut so it prevents a horse from putting its head down.

At the front of the saddle there is an extension, a loop in the device secured by velcro, which when released, after the gates have opened, allows the horse to extend its head and neck and gallop normally.

It is strange that the BHA have decided that it is a potential risk to other horses and jockeys when it is designed to do the exact opposite.

The device is used to educate poorly behaved horses in the stalls, although not all learn the art of the start at home. Some are naturally claustrophobic, while others react very differently on the course than they do at home and as soon as they are enclosed in the stalls their first reaction is to get out of them.

Over the years it has worked well, maybe only for the handful of horses that have needed it, but if it prevents injury to just one horse or one jockey then it must be a good thing, not something that should be outlawed.

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If it prevents injury to just one horse or one jockey then it must be a good thing, not something that should be outlawed

Key data

Michael Easterby
E.W. Terms
Sky bet