RESEARCHERS at Southampton University have come up with a novel design to improve the safety of horses on British racecourses.

Following an approach by the RSPCA, a team of engineering students have invented a revolutionary hurdle that will help minimise the risk of injury.

The construction is principally composed of rubber and coloured blue and yellow, colours that are apparently most identifiable to horses.

It also consists of a curved front face and the base plate, which is connected by a support arm, is equipped with a pin which collapses when struck.

Similar contact on traditional hurdles would have resulted in them being damaged and falling.

The concept is designed to withstand all conditions and will reduce the number of falls, both equine and human. With its colour scheme it will make the hurdles more welcome to jump but still encourage them to respect the obstacle.

Provided their idea can get funding, their three-year project will undergo testing with the backing of the British Horseracing Authority.