Indian Relay-Safety for Horses, Riders and Teams Is Our Most Important Goal
Indian Relay is a fast, explosive, exhilarating and exciting sport. There are many sudden, powerful and moving elements that result in unpredictable spontaneous and unplanned actions that sometimes can result in accidents.
The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association has pledged to teams and sponsors to first and foremost conduct all activities for the safety of members, horses, teams and spectators. www.letsrelay.com
How do the organization approach that? First as all, as professionals. PIHRA has a zero tolerance policy for any type of substance participation at our events. All teams take these events seriously and constantly train to refine their team skills that make them better prepared to reduce the risks of accidents. They are fit, have better reflexes and stamina due to constant training and conditioning. The same holds true for the horses and the teamwork.
As an association the rules are set to promote safety for teams and horses. There are staff veterinarians at each event to inspect horses for soundness and deal with any injuries. Unfit or unruly horses are not allowed. Each participating team has a judge to ensure rules are adhered to and each race is conducted fairly. Each judge is overseen by a head judge and any challenges are reviewed by the head judge and if need be the judging committee as a whole.
PIHRA races perform the dangerous exchanges only on the rail which reduces the amount of possible interference and physical contact. PIHRA is careful not to exceed the number of teams a track can safely handle. They carefully monitor every aspect of the race to ensure safety. Outriders and outrider placement to secure loose horses are an important and strategic safety element.
The goal of any PIHRA event is to have a safe, fair and impartial race where spectators and teams alike can enjoy the wonder of America’s first extreme sport.
Follow us on Facebook as the season progresses and see the best teams that will be invited to attend the “All Nations Indian Relay Championships” in Billings, MT this September 22-25, 2016. Tickets available at MetraPark Box Office, 406-256-2422, 800-366-8538 or LetsRelay.com.
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The Professional Indian Horse Racing Association (PIHRA) was founded to promote Indian Relay, horsemanship and safety. PIHRA has developed a season-long series of sanctioned relay races that culminate in the annual All Nations Indian Relay Championships. PIHRA is an association of teams, individuals, and sponsors who participate in the sport of Indian relay racing. There about 50 teams from the northern plains Indian country that participate. Only the top 30 teams are selected to attend three days of qualifying rounds to determine the six teams that will advance to the finals. The mission of PIHRA is to bring the fun, excitement, passion and heritage of Indian Horse Racing to a broader audience. Through this process, PIHRA will strive to provide a safe and fair environment for the team participants, their horses, and the event spectators. The PIHRA vision is that Indian Relay can provide a positive economic and cultural model for Native American relay teams and their families moving forward into today’s world while preserving the past.
Photo Credit – Diana Volk