Thursday, 21 April 2011

DAVID ASHFORTH REPORTS FOR THE RACING POST APRIL 18th 2011


 “TIME FOR A NEW BAN RACING SHOULD OUTLAW THE USE OF THE WHIP IN  A FINISH  AND REAP THE BENEFITS . 

‘SPECIAL FOCUS THE WHIP’ PAGE 7.

David issues a call for radical modification of the rules to allow the whip to be used only for safety and correction.

“The current instructions have raised the standard of race-riding and improved the way in which jockeys use their whips but the sport needs to move on again.”

“Among major racing nations Britain has led the world in regulating the use of the whip. Now the sport needs to move forward again, for its own benefit, by allowing the whip to be used only for safety or correction.

“When the Jockey Club introduced restrictions on the use of the whip in 1993 it provoked a hailstorm of criticism, including accusations that the stewards were listening to people who were not racing professions and who’s opinions should be ignored. 

“The instructions were modified and progressively refined but the Jockey Club stood firm, insisting that what was acceptable in the 1980’s was not acceptable in the 1990’s, and that public perception mattered.

“Public attitudes on what is acceptable will surely continue to move in only one direction. The wider public which racing wants to attract does not enjoy watching horses being whipped.  It makes the sport less attractive to them and is likely to be an alienating feature of racing for the next generation of potential racefans. 

“Admittedly, that is an assertion without the benefit of supporting evidence but if a survey of opinions and reactions to the sight of horses being whipped was carried out, I would be very surprised if the results did not support my assertions.

“Racing which is now more accepting of the need to take account of how the sport is viewed outside the core racing community, should act sooner rather than later.

“Defenders of the present whip regime can point out how well  racehorses are looked after, and cared for, and loved, how little is asked of them in return, how jockeys have no wish to abuse horses, insist that horses are not being abused, and emphasise how tight the whip rules are.

“They can point to modifications made to the whip itself. They can argue until they are blue in the face but none of these points addresses the one at issue – that racing is a sport in which animals are hit, and routinely hit.  That reduces the sport’s appeal and increases the scope for criticisms.

“It is bad for racing’s image, and image does matter.

“The current instructions are now as clear and concise as possible and an accepted part of the conduct of racing. …..  . They have raised the standard of race-riding and improved the way in which jockeys use the whips, which is much more sophisticated than it was  20 years ago, but the sport needs to move on again.

“I still regularly find myself saying to the television screen  “Don’t hit it again, particularly in the case of  horses exhausted at the end of a gruelling jump race but also in some other situations. It is not an uplifting sight, and the distinction between coercing a horse by improper use of the whip  and encouraging it by using the whip within the constraints of the rules is surely lost on everyone who is not already a committed racefan.

“Jockeys hit horses in the belief, often but not always justified, that the horse will thereby arrive at the winning post sooner. What would the sport loose if jockeys were not allowed to use whips to encourage their  mounts? "
“The majority of results would be the same. Horses who readily give their all would win 
rather more races, while those who need to be whipped to exert themselves fully would win rather less.

“The best jockeys,  most adept at keeping their mount balanced and driving it forward with the skilful use of aids other than  the whip, would win even more races, while less able, less fit jockeys, often the first to resort to the whip would win fewer races. That would be no bad thing. So what would be lost?

“Presumably the argument is that watching jockeys ride whip finishes is an integral part of the thrill of a race and, without it racing would be less exciting, a sadly sanitised version. I am not convinced.  Current racefans are certainly used to watching whip finishes but do they find the whip-free finishes of certain races currently staged for apprentice, amateur and conditional riders, much  less exciting?

“Would the next generation of watchers, introduced to a sport in which the whip could be used only for safety and correction purposes, long to see races as they were in the good old days? I doubt it

“Whatever would be lost would be more than compensated for by the sports increased  attractiveness  and acceptability to a wider, newer audience. The whip would not be banned. Jockeys would still be required to carry a whip but its use would be restricted largely to avoid dangerous situations and correcting horses who are veering off a straight line and in danger of causing interference.

“Under the new regime, there would be a stronger case for disqualifying  horses, as well as punishing jockeys , for misuse of the whip. It will happen . It’s a matter of when.”  END
 

J Margaret Clarke for and on behalf of Turfcall, comment response:


THE WHIP
The whip does not encourage, it forcefully inflicts pain, to both horses and children, in any and all situations where an animal or a person is repremanded in this way. The consiquences of such experiences, damaging.


WATCH MONTY ROBERT'S BLUSHING ET DOCUMENTARY http://www.turfcall.co.uk/montypage.htm
BLUSHING ET suffered dreadful abuse before he was sent to Monty, as this documentary shows.

DAVID'S CALL - "For radical modification of the rules to allow the whip to be used only for safety and correction. The whip would not be banned. Jockeys would still be required to carry a whip but its use would be restricted. Correcting horses who are veering off a straight line and in danger of causing interference.

DAVID'S CALL - “Defenders of the present whip regime can point out how well racehorses
are looked after, and cared for, and loved, how little is asked of them in return, how jockeys have no wish to abuse horses, insist that horses are not being abused, and emphasise how tight the whip rules are."
 
MARGARET'S CALL - Sadly this is not always the case as Monty Robert's work worldwide shows. Monty found out at a very early age how dreadfully cruel his own father was with horses. http://www.turfcall.co.uk/turfcall2/Monty.html 

 
END 

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