Changes have been made to the Taxis

In response to Sottovento’s fatal fall at the Taxis in the 2020 running of the Velka Pardubicka, a group was set up to propose ways to reduce the danger of this obstacle for horses and riders. The Taxis was last redesigned in the early 1990s, when the depth of the ditch on the far side of the fence was reduced. Although the number of falls at the Taxis and the number of horse fatalities was reduced after the changes, the Taxis has continued to be dangerous for horses that do not jump high enough or long enough, or, in particular, that are for various reasons not able to land safely.

The Taxis has continued to be a target for criticism from the media and from animal rights groups. The fence is in full view of racegoers in the Town Grandstand, opened in 1998, and no-one, I hope, took any pleasure from Sottovento’s crashing fall last year.

Dostihový spolek, organizers of events at Pardubice Racecourse, have issued a press release announcing changes that have been made to the Taxis. It seems that the approach to the fence and the dimensions of the fence itself will remain the same. The significant changes are to the landing area, which will be softer and considerably less steep, with a clearly marked boundary line between the end of the jump and the continuation of the racetrack. Some photos are shown in Fitmin & TURF Magazín - Dostihový spolek ukázal nový Taxis s upravenou doskokovou hranou .

The changes to the Taxis are clearly an attempt to reduce the number of horse fatalities without destroying the spectacle of horses jumping the most famous fence in the Velka Pardubicka. The Taxis will remain a challenging obstacle, while the landing side should be less dangerous.

It seems likely that these changes will be welcomed by most of the crosscountry steeplechasing community and acceptable to the community as a whole. They of course do not go far enough to satisfy the anti-steeplechasing lobby.