14 Aug 2003 Pre-2014 Releases

New Instruction For National Hunt Whips

Published: 14 August 2003

The Jockey Club announced today details of an amendment to the method by which whips are approved for National Hunt racing together with a revised instruction for their specification.

From 1st October 2003 it will be mandatory for the circumference of all National Hunt whips to be covered by shock absorbing material and each design will have to have been approved by a panel comprised of representatives from the Jockey Club, the Jockeys’ Association and the National Equine Welfare Council.

Dr Peter Webbon, the Jockey Club’s Veterinary Director, said:

“For some time we have been involved with research projects with the aim of making further progress regarding the design of whips.

“By working closely with whip manufacturers and representatives of welfare organisations we have refined the design of the current National Hunt whip. Using modern materials and manufacturing techniques a whip design has been produced which is effective, but very unlikely to cause injury to horses. The model is already in regular use by several jockeys, including Tony Dobbin, Mick Fitzgerald and Norman Williamson, who have all provided valuable feedback to the manufacturer.

“I believe the revised instruction and the establishment of the panel represent a potential breakthrough for British racing with regards to nullifying criticism about use of the whip.”

14th August 2003

Notes for Editors:

1. The panel members will be:

Paul Barton – Deputy Senior Stewards’ Secretary, former professional jump jockey
Mick Fitzgerald – National Hunt jockey, JAGB representative
David Muir – Equine Consultant to the RSPCA

2. Robert Patton, of the Old Mill Saddlery, County Antrim, is the manufacturer responsible for the ‘Pro-cush’, the first approved new design

3. All National Hunt jockeys have been notified of the amendment to the instruction and provided with details of suppliers.



Scientific testing has indicated that covering the whip with some form of shock absorbing padding or cushioning was the single factor most likely to prevent a horse from being wealed. It is recommended that all whips have shock absorbing characteristics. In the case of whips used by riders in Steeple Chases, Hurdle Races and National Hunt Flat races shock absorbing characteristics as stipulated below are mandatory. The Regulatory Board of the Jockey Club therefore gives notice that it only approves whips for the purposes of Rule 149(ii) which fall within the following specifications:-

(a) Maximum length, including flap, of 68 cms;

(b) Minimum diameter of 1 cm.

The only additional feature which may be attached to the whip is a flap. If a flap is attached it must fall within the specifications below:-

(c) A maximum length of flap from the end of the shaft of 10 cms;

(d) A maximum width of the flap of 4 cms, with a minimum width of 2 cms;

(e) The flap from the end of the shaft must not contain any reinforcements or additions.

Furthermore for those whips used by riders in Steeplechases, Hurdle Races and National Hunt Flat Races:

(f) There shall be no binding within 23 cms of the end of the flap;

(g) The contact area of the shaft must be covered by shock absorbing material throughout its circumference;

(h) The flap must have similar shock absorbing characteristics to that of the contact area;

(i) The overall weight must not exceed 160 gms.