Once again, we take a look at our thoroughbred brethren on the other side of the pond who have been threatening a strike over the British Horseracing Authorities's (BHA) new rules regarding whipping in flat, steeplechase and hunt meets. The BHA's rules are unrealistic and need to be seriously revamped.
Just in case you are wondering who I am and what did I do with the real Pacingguy, let me explain. I do think we whip our horses far too much; I like the idea of jockeys losing their riding fees and purse winnings for excessive whipping; something we should look at in North America. However, the idea of counting how many times you may hit a horse in a race and the last furlong is absurd; especially in races over two miles. You are supposed to keep count how many times you use the stick during a race while you are going over fences?
It is not the number of times you hit the horse that matters. It is hitting a horse when he is already beaten; hitting the horse when the horse has already given all it has; hitting a horse in anger which matters. It is not the number of times you hit the horse that matters; it is when you hit the horse too hard; where you hit it; how you wind up before letting the horse feel the whip which matters. It's when you leave welts which matters. I personally feel in harness racing, the whip should be carried and only used in emergencies, but no matter how you feel about whipping, asking a jockey to count the number of times they hit a horse during a race is absurd; as if the jockey (or driver) has nothing else in their mind.
The BHA rule is a great rule with regards to penalties. It is a horrible rule as it comes to defining the crime. Hopefully after meeting the jocks, they can get it right the second time.