The Friday Show Presented By The Jockey Club: David O'Connor On Equine Sport's Social License To Operate - Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

The Friday Show Presented By The Jockey Club: David O’Connor On Equine Sport’s Social License To Operate

Holly Jacks-Smither and More Inspiration, winners of the Retired Racehorse Project Highpoint Thoroughbred Award at LiftMaster Grand-Prix Eventing, Bruce’s Field, Aiken, SC

The past several weeks have seen a rise in mainstream media coverage of racing fatalities in the lead-up to this year's Kentucky Derby and Preakness. So far, nine horses have died at the Churchill Downs spring meet, while the Preakness undercard saw one fatality from the same barn as Preakness winner National Treasure.

All this raises questions — not for the first time — about horse racing's social license to operate. “Social license” refers to the tolerance of society for an industry or activity, as well as the public's comfort level with that industry or activity.

Horse racing isn't the only equine sport that struggles with questions about its social license to operate. Social license has become a topic of discussion within the U.S. Equestrian Federation and the Federation Equestre International in recent years.

David O'Connor is a team and individual Olympic medalist in the sport of eventing and since retiring from competition has been involved in leadership of USEF, which is the governing body for a range of equine Olympic and non-Olympic sports.

On this week's episode of The Friday Show, editor in chief Natalie Voss and news editor Chelsea Hackbarth asked O'Connor about how the discussions around social license have evolved in equine sport, and what USEF members are learning from racing's public struggles.

Watch this week's episode of The Friday Show below:

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