...my treasures do not sparkle they clink,
they shine in the sun and neigh in the night...



An Investigation of Racing Performance and Whip Use by Jockeys in Thoroughbred Races

  • Ethology

David Evans e Paul McGreevy
Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia


Concerns have been expressed concerning animal-welfare issues associated with whip use during Thoroughbred races.
However, there have been no studies of relationships between performance and use of whips in Thoroughbred racing. Our
aim was to describe whip use and the horses’ performance during races, and to investigate associations between whip use
and racing performance. Under the Australian Racing Board (ARB) rules, only horses that are in contention can be whipped,
so we expected that whippings would be associated with superior performance, and those superior performances would be
explained by an effect of whipping on horse velocities in the final 400 m of the race. We were also interested to determine
whether performance in the latter sections of a race was associated with performance in the earlier sections of a race.
Measurements of whip strikes and sectional times during each of the final three 200 metre (m) sections of five races were
analysed. Jockeys in more advanced placings at the final 400 and 200 m positions in the races whipped their horses more
frequently. Horses, on average, achieved highest speeds in the 600 to 400 m section when there was no whip use, and the
increased whip use was most frequent in the final two 200 m sections when horses were fatigued. This increased whip use
was not associated with significant variation in velocity as a predictor of superior placing at the finish.

The authors conclude that, under an ethical framework that considers costs paid by horses against benefits accrued by humans, these data make whipping tired horses in the name of sport very difficult to justify. However, it is worth noting that other ethical frameworks would not condone the practice even if it did, contrary to the findings of this study, cause horses to run faster....

Read the complete article.