Does a jockey need a whip to encourage a horse to run faster? That’s a frequent question; after all, we never saw John Wayne or Clint Eastwood use a whip to make their mounts move.
They just whistled in their ear, or something to that effect. The use of whips has tainted the image of horse racing for years and has been used by many animal anticruelty organisations against the so-called “Sport Of Kings”.
There has been a massive call in the UK to either ban the whip or at least curb its use and it’s overflowed to other countries, including South Africa. As a result, for the first time, Phumelela will stage a race at Saturday’s Charity Mile meeting at Turffontein Racecourse in which jockeys will not be permitted to use whips.
“Being the Charity Mile, we want to show we are willing to take a positive step forward for those who support a welfare approach to the role of animals in our lives,” said Clyde Basel, oncourse sales and marketing executive for Phumelela.
“As a responsible operator/regulator, there is a view that the current rules and penalties around the use of the whip are simply not good enough and can be both improved and made clearer.
“This is a perfect trial for Charity Mile Day with the newbies [celebrities and the like] all watching and in particular all the horse-related charities who will welcome this concept.”
Six-time champion jockey Piere Strydom has been a keen exponent of curbing the use of the whip and he welcomed it.
“The whips we use today have a major cushioning affect and do not inflict pain, but it still does a lot of damage to the image of the sport. This is a very positive move.” Multiple champion trainer Mike de Kock is another staunch supporter.
“The first question we get from newcomers to the sport is ‘why do we whip horses’. “It gives the sport a very poor image and I’ve been pushing his idea for months. There are no negatives. It can only be positive for horse racing.”