Is the whip cruel? Does it hurt horses?
The whips used in British racing are foam-padded and energy-absorbing, and the thresholds for use are extremely low – the whip can be used only seven times in a flat race or eight times in a Jump race before the stewards will review the ride.
If used properly, there is no welfare problem associated with use of the energy-absorbing whip in Britain. Indeed Britain is among the world leaders in terms of the regulation of use of the whip in racing.
Due to the fact that the limits on use are set so low, and the padded design of the whip, only in the most extreme cases would a breach of our whip rules constitute a welfare issue.
Despite this, the sport continues to impose strict penalties on breaches of the whip rules, in order to act as a deterrent against misuse. In addition, a further review of our whip rules has recently been announced, to ensure that the rules and penalties are providing a sufficient deterrent to prevent rule breaches.