TIDE TURNING ON RACE RIDING – NO WHIPS NO SPURS? - Racing Talk - Racehorse TALK harm-plan

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Author Topic: TIDE TURNING ON RACE RIDING – NO WHIPS NO SPURS?  (Read 180 times)

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Offline Peter Mair

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O.P. « 2019-Nov-05, 10:02 PM »


It is now 10 years on from the start of some 250,000 comments on the introduction of the then  ‘new whip rules’


A derby-day weekend for me in rural NSW was enlightening ............. mainly in the company of an 80yro life-time owner, trainer and former track-work rider.

Conversation turned to the pressure building on the racing industry to present itself as humane.

No question about finding and prosecuting ‘doggers’ treating horses with cruel disrespect.

The contentious conversation was about the need for and routine use of a whip (or spurs) to ensure a horse runs to the best of its ability.

On the table also was the credibility of jockeys wielding a ‘padded whip’ which was not ‘harmful’.

The clear advice from the ‘elder’ was that – ‘the whip is not needed’ – nor spurs – that the ‘padded whips’ do cause lasting distress as ‘evident bruising’: not perhaps the once very visible ‘quilting’ that known hard-riders were historically encouraged to inflict on a horse suspected of ‘not trying’, but definitely not harmless either.

..... an option for action

There are presumably objective tests to ‘see’ if the use of whips and spurs is distressing to horses.

There would also be professional opinion – probably divergent -- about the need for whips and spurs to be used in the training and ‘controlled’ riding of horses in races.

Even so, a challenge the industry could accept would provide for the running of one race on a program where the use of a whip (or spurs) would be not allowed.

.......... betting on these one-races may be permitted or not, initially, but with a clear intention to allow normal betting as the trials unfolded.

Complementary rules would allow the carrying of a whip for (explained) use in emergencies but preclude the ‘showing’ and ‘waving’ of a whip in the course of a race (which would encourage conditioning akin to the use of jiggers)

Offline Peter Mair

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« 2019-Nov-10, 02:17 PM Reply #1 »


(i) RVL is surveying public opinion

We would like  to understand what Victorian thoroughbred racing fans think about the practice of jockeys using whips during Victorian race meetings. This survey should take no more than five minutes to complete.

Those interested to offer a view may need to register at  https://www.racing-insiders.com.au.

(ii) relevant opinions are being given

Among others Lloyd Williams would support a ban on whips in races.

............ and the question of 'whips hurting' was raised again by Michael Walker -- who also said, after his Cup penalty was imposed, that 'the padded whip does not hurt the horses'.

Is that true or not? : after 10 years the question -- does the padded whip hurt? -- needs to be put and answered afresh -- otherwise the debate is being sidetracked into arena of apparent public-presentation impressions.

Online Dave

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« 2019-Nov-10, 06:24 PM Reply #2 »
Whips and spurs(in particular spurs which are downright cruel and barbaric at any time) are not necessary to get a horse to do it's best for good horsemen and women.........but they (good Horsemen and women)are very few and far between, without whips and/or spurs the difference in horsemanship skills would be a gulf, Horses would know who was boss and would jack up on some (most) jockeys and refuse to try, form reversals would be gigantic and a lot more often......but would settle down soon enough once the deadwood was obvious,
I believe Whips are a necessary safety tool, they should be allowed to be used at the jockeys discretion as many times as they like but never raised above the saddle pommel  height and in more of a flicking action from below the hand, the strength in hitting a horse with a whip has no relevance anyway, same as hitting a child, the harder you hit them the less likely you are to get them to obey, it doesn't work, once you feel that extreme force is necessary you have lost the fight.....
I do agree with the initiatives to curb cruelty in racing but......they need to be educated on how to do it and still maintain the industry, most of what is happening now with the silly whip rules are nothing more than knee jerk reactions that don't work for anyone, least of all the horses, it makes the use of spurs a lot more prevalent.....it upsets and confuses  Punters, Jockeys are getting fined.....and the do gooders(who are good people who just don't know what they are talking about) are still upset, there are no winners...it needs a win/win/win/win solution.....if one loses then we all lose

Offline Peter Mair

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« 2019-Nov-10, 08:17 PM Reply #3 »

No-Whip racing -- one race at each Saturday meeting?

We just do not know the answers.

What Dave is saying reflects what most are thinking.

Spurs are 'out' -- the need for whips is the lingering whip-hand debate.

Most would not like to think they had been hoodwinked by either the 'it is needed' or the 'no its not' camps -- nor the possible views of the administrator ring-masters, chasing the buck, being wary of any 'yes -- or not' bias in emerging industry and community opinion.

The issue can be put in a broader context.

Any dramatic and immediate change would likely be disruptive -- trainers and jockeys need time to adapt.

A possible deal on the table is 'one race' on a Saturday program to be whip-free-- and, if an incentive is needed for jockeys and trainers to get one ready, a $10,000 bonus on the winning  purse would be one option.

Online Dave

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« 17 minutes ago Reply #4 »
The whip "is needed" but the cruelty is "not needed", you can have both, restricting whip use i.e. the number of hits with the whip,  is stupid in the extreme and has no chance of ever working, to expect all Jockeys to keep count in the heat of battle defies logic, We will get to the point where correct weight will be held up until beaten jockeys count the whip strokes of every jockey who finishes in front of them, if it is against the rules then it must be grounds for a protest and a change of race result........then to allow unrestricted whip use in the last 100 metres is also stupid beyond belief, that is when it looks at it's worse, an extra couple of strokes with the whip at the 600 ain't as obvious as unrestricted punishment in the last 100 metres.....Punters want horses bashed but if they lost a result because of a protest that may change.......
The only answer that would satisfy everyone is not how many times a Jockey uses the whip.....but HOW a Jockey uses the whip..........Never overhand, that is a terrible look to animal lovers, using the whip by restricting arm movement to saddle height, or even elbow height, would be a lot easier for Jockeys to remember and they wouldn't get fined or risk losing a race on protest, no one would be disadvantaged, it would not look like cruelty, you would still get the best out of the horse, Jockeys win, Punters win, connections win, Animal lovers win............
If they don't change, change will be forced upon them.....and it will be change that no one wants.....,no whips at all....dangerous for Jockeys, bad for punters, bad for owners/trainers......
I am an atheist but I do try to think of the serenity prayer as a way to live life quote "grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference"
We cannot change the fact that change is a coming, that is something we must accept, we must have the courage to change first so we get something we can live with........we must have the wisdom  to know that if we don't it will be forced on us anyway