HRA Industry Notice – Tongue Ties

20 February 2020

The issue of tongue ties has been discussed and considered among a number of Harness Racing Australia (HRA) Committees including the Standardbred Welfare Advisory Group, Integrity Conferences, meetings of the HRA membership and the National Gear and Equipment Committee for a substantial period of time.

These groups considered peer reviewed studies and trials, regulatory veterinarians, international regulations along with current practices to provide recommendations to Harness Racing Australia that deliver an outcome that HRA believes will provide the appropriate balance between the safety and performance aspects of retaining the tongue tie with welfare and public expectations.

 Acting on the recommendation of these groups Harness Racing Australia wishes to advise that the following changes to the regulation of tongue ties will take effect in all States on 1 April 2020.

Tongue Tie Regulations

Tongue ties used must be commercially available and designed for this purpose.

 Tongue ties must meet the following specifications:


  • Made of leather or rubber (at least 15mm in width);


  • Made of lycra or neoprene (at least 50mm in width).


Please note the following points, as failure to comply with them may result in stewards applying a penalty:

  • Nylon stockings and vet wrap are not to be used.
  • Tongue ties must not be secured to either the bit or the bridle due to the risk of damage to a horse’s tongue should the bridle be dislodged in an incident.
  • Tongues which are tied must remain inside the horse’s mouth in it's usual position.
  • Tongue ties must not be applied more than 30 minutes prior to race time.
  •  Tongue ties must be removed as soon as practicable post-race.
  • Tongue plate and tongue control bits and W bits are permitted.

For further details, please contact HRA Equine Welfare Coordinator Kathleen Mullan at