Horsemen, Engineers work on Safety for Horses, Riders

May 14, 2013

Ron Rizzo (left), an engineer at Western Kentucky University, and WKU professor Matt Dettman prepare a horse-racing rein to be tested Monday at WKU's Complex for Engineering and Biological Sciences.
Credit Nathan Morgan / The Daily News

A loud snap echoed through a building at Western Kentucky University on Monday as another pair of leather reins finally split in two. Civil engineering professor Matt Dettman helped destroy numerous horse-racing reins as part of a project aimed at finding the weak points of those products. The testing could help set an industry standard for reins to better protect horses and their riders. Representatives of the Jockeys’ Guild, The Jockey Club and the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association gathered at WKU to watch a variety of reins being tested in an effort to help refine a standard. ”If they’re going to be instigating a new rein, they want to be comfortable with it,” Dettman said. To his knowledge, WKU is the only university doing this kind of testing, he said.  Read more...