Whip Rules

It is suggested that a jockey who uses the whip once in the forehand position – if he does not do so clearly for safety reasons – will be banned for seven days, with the penalty for several forehand shots yet to be determined, but should have a significant deterrent effect. As part of the Horse Welfare Board`s (HWB) independent strategic plan, A life well lived – a new strategic plan for the welfare of horses breeding for racing 2020-2024, it was recommended that the BHA conduct a public consultation on the use of whips in UK racing. The switch to pure backhand whip should reduce attacks and lead to tighter arm action of runners. The allowed number of uses of the whip with the hands of the reins is 7 times for flat races and 8 times for jump races. An important challenge will be to ensure coherence between legal systems. In the current system, in which each state sets and enforces its own rules, even similar rules are often interpreted and applied differently. But that`s about to change. With the first set of rules from the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Authority (HISA) to be introduced, whip rules also become something that owners and trainers need to pay attention to. Recommendations on the role of the whip were published in a February 2020 report by the Horse Welfare Board of Sport. New rules to disqualify horses whose jockeys seriously breach whip guidelines will be introduced in British show jumping from 9 January. Jockeys may only wear a specially designed and approved energy-absorbing whisk.

The changes were proposed in a report by the BHA Whip Consultation Steering Group. A jockey can hit his mount up to seven times at each stage on the flat and eight times on the jumps, these thresholds triggering a stewards` examination to evaluate the climb. There are also rules on how the whip can be used, according to which riders are allowed to hit a horse`s hindquarters and shoulder in a backhand position, but they cannot use excessive force, use the whip above shoulder height, or whether the horse wins clearly or has no chance. The BHA adjusted its rules shortly after, changing the limits to the current level and removing the penalty that required a driver to forfeit their winning percentage for a violation. During a race, riders are limited to a maximum of six lashes on the horse`s hindquarters, with no more than two in a row allowed. After each pair of blows, a rider must wait at least two steps to give the horse a chance to react. In British racing, the use of a foam-padded whisk with air cushioning is allowed, with strict controls on its use. Disqualification occurs when a jockey uses the whip 12 times in a show jumping race or 11 times at the level – four above the allowed level of eight and seven strokes, respectively. The disqualification decision must be made by the race stewards on the day of the race.

The British Horseracing Authority has announced a revision of the whip rules, with disqualification now a possibility for winners whose riders have seriously breached the revised rules, with use also limited to the position of the backhand. As current co-president of the Professional Jockeys Association, PJ McDonald, along with Tom Scudamore, a senior member of the weighing room, said that while they would need time to adjust to the new rules, especially with the whip in the backhand position, she and her colleagues realized that changes had to take place with Scudamore. hoping this would lead to « visibly improved races », while McDonald hoped the new disqualification penalty would be rare. be used, if applicable. PJ McDonald, President of the Professional Jockeys Association and member of the Whip Advisory Steering Group, said: « While we, as jockeys, would have preferred not to see penalties for cervical neck infringements significantly increased, we must also accept that action must be taken to prevent breaches of the whip rules. David Jones, Chair of the Whips Advisory Steering Group, said: « We believe that as a result of this process, we are evolving the standards for whip use through a regulatory approach that is demonstrably and visibly fair in terms of what they require of our horses and the spirit of fair sport competition. The biggest change today is the introduction of the possibility of disqualification for serious violations of the rules. The permitted level for the use of the whip remains at seven at level and eight on jumps, but in addition to increased penalties, disqualification of a horse is introduced if there has been a « clear and blatant disregard of the rules », which means numerically if the whip is used four or more times above the allowed level. Another important change is that the use of the whip to encourage is limited to the backhand position only. The stewards will determine whether to use his whip 8 or more times in a flat race, or 9 or more times in a jump race, or abused the whip.

A minority of the steering group argued that the whip should be withdrawn for promotion, as is now the case in Scandinavia, but this was not adopted. Brant Dunshea, BHA`s director of regulation, said: « We are aware that some of the new rules will take some time for some jockeys to get used to, which is why we have taken into account time for communication and education, as well as time for integration, before the rules and sanctions are fully implemented. » Whiplash offences decreased by 48% and suspensions decreased by 31% in 2021 compared to 2011, when the last major revision of the rules came into effect. The review was first proposed in late 2018 after investigating high-profile horse deaths and whipping bans following this year`s Cheltenham Festival. The races` governing body has now clarified that such disqualifications will not be enforced on race day, meaning they will have no impact on betting. Instead, such decisions are made in the days following a race by the newly created Whip Review Committee. The changes are expected to come into effect in the fall after emerging as important recommendations from the long-awaited review of the sport`s whip rules. The whip can be used to encourage a horse – to focus and concentrate – to give the best of itself, but the stimulus that comes from using the whip must be limited so as not to affect the welfare of the horse. David Jones, BHA Board Member and Chair of the Whip`s Consultation Steering Group, said: « While the initial proposals were made after an extensive consultation process, it was important that further detailed discussions took place with those most affected by the proposals. Before the changes are implemented, there will be a period of technical discussions with jockeys and other relevant industry participants to review practical or logistical considerations related to the new rules and to determine the training and education required for jockeys and stewards before the new rules come into effect.

It will also examine how an « integration phase » will work once the new rules are implemented to facilitate the transition. This will feed into the preparation of a comprehensive implementation plan. The current goal is for the new rules to come into force in late autumn, although the exact date is specified at this stage of the technical discussion. Winning runner Sam Waley-Cohen was suspended for nine days and fined £400 for using his whip above the allowed level and in the wrong place. Here is an overview of the issues surrounding the whip and upcoming rule changes: With respect to penalties, the new rules will be different from the old ones. The new regime is stricter and provides additional penalties for cumulative violations. Provided the way the whip was used was measured, stewards may ignore occasions when the whip was used in the following circumstances: The new whip rules for British racing will be introduced on February 6, just over a month before the Cheltenham Festival. The British Horseracing Authority announced on the morning of 22 November its timetable for implementing the changes announced in mid-July, limiting the use of whips to the backhand position and allowing disqualification for the most serious offences. The effective date of the proposed amendments will be specified in the development and implementation plan, which will be informed by technical discussions with jockeys.