THE whip has come underneath assault as soon as once more, this time from sports activities columnist Matthew Syed.
Syed criticised the game for turning it is again on the problem and stated “horses have been being thrashed up and down the nation” in his article revealed within the Instances newspaper.
However grasp coach Philip Hobbs immediately informed Solar Racing he believes the whip is vitally necessary for the security of these concerned within the sport.
Hobbs has been coaching since 1985 and has had winners in any respect the main festivals throughout Britain. Previous to his coaching profession, Hobbs was a present jumper and point-to-point rider earlier than changing into an beginner Nationwide Hunt jockey.
He stated: “The whip is crucial for security. Should you can’t management the horse it’s going to be doubtlessly harmful.
“This is not even throughout a race, this is so simple as going to the beginning for instance. They might doubtlessly endanger individuals, and definitely different horses.
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“Most people presume the whip is important just for the end of the race, the last dash to the line, but that doesn’t tell the story.
“It helps keep the horse balanced and there are plenty of occasions where the rider of the horse, whether racing or anywhere else, needs a whip just to correct a horse and to get them to go in the right direction. Sometimes just for gentle encouragement.”
The rules relating to the whip have changed dramatically over the years. As recently as 2011, the amount of times a jockey could strike a horse was halved in both Flat and National Hunt racing.
The whip itself has also decreased in size and the top is now covered in a cushioned pad.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) released a statement in relation to the article and labelled Syed “very wrong” in what he had published.
The perception from a handful of critics outside the sport, surrounding the whip, is why some believe it will need to be removed from the sport at some point in the near future.
Hobbs disagrees and is quick to point out the positive changes that have been made over the years.
He continued: “Firstly, it’s unfortunate it’s called a whip as that brings up bad thoughts in people’s mind before they even know about anything.
“The whips we have are so soft and have changed so much. I haven’t had a horse marked for over fifteen years.
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“They can’t physically hurt the horse and it’s not having the effect people conjure up in their minds I can assure you.
“I’m very much in favour of the whip in the sport, it’s very important to keep a horse balanced and straight. I’m not even just talking about galloping, I’m saying even when a horse is just walking it’s important.”
It’s clear that the whip is an area of ongoing debate. But an area that those inside the sport feel passionate about.
Racing has a reputation for turning it’s back on change, but can the whip realistically be dropped from the sport without endangering those involved in the day-to-day running of it?
The education of the wider public is key and something the BHA should be pushing forwards with with more enthusiasm.
One thing is for sure, this won’t be the last we hear of it.