The British Horseracing Authority has announced that a modified whip will be made available to British jockeys over the next few months. The new whips will initially be made available to flat jockeys, followed by jump jockeys.
The new whip, which is an evolved design of the existing cushioned whip, will include a microchip of the same type as used to identify racehorses. The purpose of this is to allow research into the longevity of the whip, in particular its cushioning properties. Enhancements have also been made to the grip following feedback from jockeys.
That original cushioned whip design was developed by manufacturers Old Mill Saddlery of Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, working with a Jockey Club panel, including input from the RSPCA. The cushioned whip was introduced in 2004 for Jump racing and in 2007 for Flat racing. The success of this approach of has been shown by the widespread international adoption of the principle of cushioned whips in horseracing and other equine sports. The modified whip has also been developed with manufacturers Old Mill Saddlery of Carrickfergus.
The first batch of modified whips will be funded by the BHA and made available to all licensed professional jockeys at no cost to themselves. Jockeys with more than 500 rides per year will receive two whips.
Once the whips have been distributed to all jockeys the Rules for the specification of whips will be updated to include the requirement for a microchip.
Tim Morris, Director of Equine Science and Welfare for the Authority, said:
“At present we do not know if the cushioning effect is sustained over time. Identification of individual whips via the microchip will allow objective assessment of whip age, allow estimates of the number in races where it has been used and ultimately avoid any whip wear that might affect horse welfare.
“The use of these microchips for whip identification is a result of racing’s ongoing positive co-operation with the PJA and our dialogue with the RSPCA.
“We will continue to consult with the PJA on the Rules and Penalties for any whip offences, and work closely with the PJA and Racing Schools on education over proper use of the whip.”
For further information please contact Paul Struthers, Media Relations Manager, on 020 7152 0166 or 07966 590105 Kevin Darley, PJA chief executive, on 0163544102
Notes for Editors:
1. The BHA Policy on whip use can be found at:
2. Microchipped whips will be visually identified by a distinctive red disc in the handle containing the text ‘British Horseracing Authority Approved’.
3. On the racecourses the Clerk of the Scales will arrange with Veterinary Staff for the whip to be scanned to confirm the number, using the same scanners as used to scan horses. Jockeys who acquire a new whip, receive a whip formerly associated with another jockey, or wish to hand in a whip no longer in use, will register/deregister whips with the Clerk of the Scales.
4. The PJA will hold a number of whips for use by foreign jockeys.
5. The expectation, effected by cooperation with PJA and its members and through the BHA (Clerks of Scales) is that worn whips will be returned to the manufacturer for product review.
6. Amateur jockeys will not be required to use a microchipped whip.