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The use of whips by jockeys is an issue. The current study viewed opportunistic high-speed footage of 15 race finishes frame-by-frame to examine the outcomes of arm and wrist actions (n = 350) on 40 horses viewed from the left of the field. Any actions fully or partially obscured by infrastructure or other horses were removed from the database, leaving a total of 104 non-contact sweeps and 134 strikes. For all instances of arm actions that resulted in fully visible whip strikes behind the saddle (n = 109), the outcomes noted were area struck, percentage of unpadded section making contact, whether the seam made contact and whether a visible indentation was evident on impact. We also recorded use of clockwise or counter-clockwise arm action from each jockey's whip, whether the whip was held like a tennis racquet or a ski pole, whether the hind leg on the side of the impact was in stance or swing phase and whether the jockey's arm was seen traveling above shoulder height. The goal of the study was to characterize the area struck and the visual impact of whip use at the level of the horse. We measured the ways in which both padded and unpadded sections of the whip made impact. There was evidence of at least 28 examples, in 9 horses, of breaches of the whip rules (one seam contact, 13 contacts with the head, and 14 arm actions that rose above the height of the shoulder). The whip caused a visible indentation on 83% of impacts. The unpadded section of the whip made contact on 64% of impacts. The results call into question the ability of Stewards to effectively police the rules concerning whip use and, more importantly, challenge the notion that padding the distal section of whips completely safeguards horses from any possible whip-related pain.
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Whip Use by Jockeys in a Sample of Australian
Thoroughbred Races—An Observational Study
Paul D. McGreevy
1
*, Robert A. Corken
1
, Hannah Salvin
1
, Celeste M. Black
2
1Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 2Faculty of Law, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Abstract
The use of whips by jockeys is an issue. The current study viewed opportunistic high-speed footage of 15 race finishes
frame-by-frame to examine the outcomes of arm and wrist actions (n = 350) on 40 horses viewed from the left of the field.
Any actions fully or partially obscured by infrastructure or other horses were removed from the database, leaving a total of
104 non-contact sweeps and 134 strikes. For all instances of arm actions that resulted in fully visible whip strikes behind the
saddle (n = 109), the outcomes noted were area struck, percentage of unpadded section making contact, whether the seam
made contact and whether a visible indentation was evident on impact. We also recorded use of clockwise or counter-
clockwise arm action from each jockey’s whip, whether the whip was held like a tennis racquet or a ski pole, whether the
hind leg on the side of the impact was in stance or swing phase and whether the jockey’s arm was seen traveling above
shoulder height. The goal of the study was to characterize the area struck and the visual impact of whip use at the level of
the horse. We measured the ways in which both padded and unpadded sections of the whip made impact. There was
evidence of at least 28 examples, in 9 horses, of breaches of the whip rules (one seam contact, 13 contacts with the head,
and 14 arm actions that rose above the height of the shoulder). The whip caused a visible indentation on 83% of impacts.
The unpadded section of the whip made contact on 64% of impacts. The results call into question the ability of Stewards to
effectively police the rules concerning whip use and, more importantly, challenge the notion that padding the distal section
of whips completely safeguards horses from any possible whip-related pain.
Citation: McGreevy PD, Corken RA, Salvin H, Black CM (2012) Whip Use by Jockeys in a Sample of Australian Thoroughbred Races—An Observational Study. PLoS
ONE 7(3): e33398. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033398
Editor: Colin Allen, Indiana University, United States of America
Received September 4, 2011; Accepted February 12, 2012; Published March 1 , 2012
Copyright: ß2012 McGreevy et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits
unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Funding: The authors have no support or funding to report.
Competing Interests: The authors have read the journal’s policy and have the following conflicts: Paul McGreevy is a member of the Expert Advisory Panel –
Dog Advisory Council (UK) (2010 - Present), Scientific Advisory Panel: International Fund for Animal Welfare (2008 – Present), Scientific Advisor: RSPCA (UK) (2008 –
Present), Australian Animal Welfare Strategy Working Group (2008 – Present); Scientific Advisory Panel: World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) -
Equine Specialist (2003 – Present); International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) - Co-founder (2002 – Present), Scientific Advisory Panel: RSPCA (Australia)
(2001 – Present), International Society for Equitation Science: Hon. President (2011 – Present), Visiting Professor: Nottingham Trent University, UK (2010 – Present),
Adjunct Associate Professor: University of New England, Australia (2010 – Present), Editorial advisory board: The Veterinary Journal (2009 – Present), Editorial
board: Journal of Veterinary Behaviour (2005 – Present). This does not alter the authors’ adherence to all the PLoS ONE policies on sharing data and materials.
* E-mail: paul.mcgreevy@sydney.edu.au
Introduction
Whipping tired horses in the name of sport is becoming
increasingly difficult to justify [1]. This view is supported by recent
evidence showing that, in races of 1200 m and 1250 m, whip use
was most frequent in the final two 200 m sections when horses
were fatigued [2]. Further analysis of the same dataset revealed
that horses were more likely to be whipped in the penultimate
200 m section of races if ridden by apprentice rather than non-
apprentice jockeys and if drawn closer to the rail [3]. Given that
horses further from the rail are known to have slower race times
[4], one would expect them to need more whipping (if, indeed,
whipping helps) to keep horses closer to the inside of the bend [3].
In a similar vein, the effectiveness of the whip in steering
racehorses has been brought into doubt, in NSW at least, by data
showing that handedness of riders, rather than direction of racing,
seems to be the primary driver as to which hand jockeys use to
carry the whip [5].
In Australia, the Australian Racing Board (ARB), representing
the Thoroughbred racing industry, has developed the Australian
Rules of Racing, and these rules are then adopted by state racing
authorities, such as Racing NSW, with the addition of local rules
of racing. Australian Rule (AR) 137A deals specifically with the
design and use of whips. Under the current whip rules (in place
since 2009), the general sub-rule provides that ARB Stewards may
penalize any rider who in a race, official trial, jump-out or
trackwork, or elsewhere uses his whip in an excessive, unnecessary
or improper manner (AR 137A(3)). Beyond this sub-rule, the
detailed rules concerning whip use provide that in the final
100 metres of a race, a rider may, subject to the other requirements of this
rule, use his whip at his discretion, subject to the other requirements of this rule
(AR 137A(5)(b)). In addition, the Stewards may penalize any rider
who in a race, official trial or jump-out uses his whip:
(a) forward of his horse’s shoulder or in the vicinity of its head; or
(b) using an action that raises his arm above shoulder height; or
(c) when his horse is out of contention; or
(d) when his horse is showing no response; or
(e) after passing the winning post; or
(f) causing injury to his horse; or
(g) when his horse is clearly winning; or
(h) has no reasonable prospect of improving or losing its position; or
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9
(i) in such manner that the seam of the flap is the point of contact with the
horse, unless the rider satisfies the Stewards that this was neither
deliberate nor reckless. (AR 137A(4))
The last of these elements is presumably difficult to police
because one has to be very close to the whip to know exactly how it
is aligned with the horse’s skin at the time of impact. It is of interest
because the padded whip has been promoted as being the solution
to welfare issues surrounding whip use. The ARB stipulates that
certain designs of padded whips for use in Australian racing
comply with the following specifications [6]:
1. Maximum length of whip not exceeding 70 cm.
2. No binding within 18 cm of end of whip.
3. Minimum diameter of 2.5 cm.
4. Minimum length of pad not less than 18 cm for whips 60 cm in length or
for longer whips the flap length must not be less than 30% of the whip
length.
5. The overall weight of the whip must not exceed 160 gm.
6. The contact area of the shaft (including pad) must be smooth with no
protrusion or raised surface.
7. The padded segment of the whip shall consist of a material approved by
Stewards that does not harden over time. Padded materials must be
waterproof.
8. Leather pads are not permitted.
9. The inner padded section shall consist only of closed cell foam of not less
than 7 mm (one side) in thickness.
10. The thickness of the outer pad can be no greater than 1 mm.
11. All whips must be dark in colour.
Of these, point 6 is of particular interest since it refers to the
‘‘contact area of the shaft (including pad)’’. This implies that
despite all the effort expended in padding the whip, there remains
an expectation that the shaft will make contact in unpadded
sections.
The padding is intended to absorb the impact of the whip as it
makes contact. However, several images have recently come to the
attention of the Australian press showing the whip indenting the
skin of the horse [7]. The question of how common such visible
indentations are is therefore topical.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) makes the stipulation
that backhand position refers to a rotation that is clockwise from
the jockey’s perspective [8]. There are no stipulations about how
the whip is to be gripped by the jockey’s hand, although this is
subject to some variation and may have implications for horse
comfort and welfare.
The distinction between forehand and backhand whip action is
critically important under the ARB’s Rules of Racing [9]. The
ARB rule AR137A(5)(a) states that prior to the 100 m mark (i.e.,
100 m from the winning post):
(i) The whip shall not be used in a forehand manner in consecutive strides.
(ii) The whip shall not be used in a forehand manner more than on 5
occasions.
(iii) The rider may at his discretion use the whip with a slapping motion
down the shoulder, with the whip hand remaining on the reins, or
alternatively in a backhand manner.
The Stewards of Australian Racing view head-on footage
retrospectively to police these rules. In contrast, the current study
explored opportunistic high-speed footage of the ends of 15 races
that could be viewed frame-by-frame to examine the area struck,
the percentage of unpadded section making contact, whether the
seam was making contact, and whether a visible indentation was
evident on impact. It also recorded: the use of clockwise or
counter-clockwise arm action; each of the jockeys’ whip grip (i.e.
whether the whip was held like a tennis racquet or a ski pole);
whether the hindleg on the side of the impact was in stance or
swing phase; and whether the jockey’s arm was seen traveling
above shoulder height.
Materials and Methods
High-speed footage of horses galloping at two meetings from
Gosford Racecourse in NSW was obtained opportunistically and
analyzed under the University of Sydney’s Human Research
Ethics Committee (approval number 11-2009/12299). The high-
speed camera was mounted at the level of the grandstand and was
fixed to cover the last 200 meters of the race. The lead horse was
followed as the group ran by.
Approximately the final 200 meters of each race was videoed
from the left side of the horses. Analysis of the saddlecloth numbers
and the horses’ placings confirmed that the meetings were at the
same track on the 9
th
(races 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7 and 8) and the 24th June
2011 (the first 8 races). The last race at the first meeting and the
last two races at the second meeting were not recorded, perhaps
due to failing light. Race 4 in the first meeting was also absent but
it is not clear why. The meetings were not exceptional in that they
were not part of a particular racing carnival with premium prize
money, so it was expected that the findings would be represen-
tative for whip use more generally in Australia. The two meetings
had slightly different track conditions: ‘‘dead’’ on the 9
th
and
‘‘slow’’ on the 24th. Prize money for all recorded races was
$10,400 for first place, $3,200 for second and $1,600 for third. The
average distances, numbers of starters and official times for all
recorded races were 1433 meters, 10.6 runners and 89 seconds,
respectively.
Inspectors from RSPCA NSW were present at this track on the
24
th
June. In the 15 recorded races, Racing NSW Stewards
reported only one violation of the whip rules. On the 24
th
June
2011, ‘‘Apprentice S Lisnyy, the rider of Allandy [in Race 7], was fined
$
100 under Rule 137A(4)(c) for use of the whip when his mount was out of
contention’’.
All arm and wrist actions (n = 350) that led to whip movement
on the left side of the horse were analysed by two observers (both
of whom hold higher degrees in animal behavior) working
independently after being instructed to follow each horse as
identified by its saddle cloth and who were blinded to the other
observer’s scores. These actions were made by a total of 23 jockeys
on 40 horses. The timing of each action was recorded as the whip
made contact or, in the cases of non-contact sweeps, as it reached
the descent of its arc along the horse’s body. Each whip strike was
identified by the time of impact, according to the time stamp on
the video file. We excluded any whip use that was recorded by
either observer as obscured. Reasons for obscuring included:
obscured by other horses (n = 81), obscured by infrastructure such
as posts or signage (n = 4), obscured by the saddlecloth (n = 10),
blurred or in shadow (n = 7) or out of frame (n = 8). Actions that
led to impacts in two horses on the head (n = 10), ears (n = 3) and
neck/shoulders (n = 12) as recorded by both observers were also
not examined further. SPSS v18 (IBM Statistics, USA) was used to
conduct a pair-wise correlation on the two observers’ scores of
whip impacts to measure inter-observer reliability.
We used frame-by-frame analysis to examine the area struck
(percentile of whip that made contact with the abdomen,
percentile of whip that made contact with the hindleg or if the
whip struck another area of the body). We removed head, ear,
Whip Use by Australian Jockeys
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neck and shoulder impacts because whipping behind the saddle is
the focus of Australian rules surrounding whip use. The remaining
clear impacts on areas of the horse behind the saddle (n = 109)
then formed the focus of our analysis. They all were the result of
arm actions rather than wrist actions. For these, we scored the
percentage of unpadded section making contact (ten percentiles);
whether the seam of the padded section of the whip was making
contact (Y/N or ?); and whether a visible indentation was evident
on impact (Y/N or ?). We also recorded the use of clockwise or
counter-clockwise arm action from the jockeys’ perspective (CW or
CCW); each of the jockeys’ whip grip (whether the whip was held
like a tennis racquet, a ski pole, or using an intermediate grip:
racquet, ski-pole or intermediate); whether the hindleg on the side
of the impact was in stance or swing phase (swing or stance); and
whether the jockey’s arm was seen travelling above shoulder
height (Y/N).
Also listed was the incidence of whip impacts where both
observers had recorded 100% of the abdomen or .10% of the
abdomen being hit. Attributes of specific whip strikes (as specified
by the time of impact) for which there were discrepancies between
the scoring of Observer A and Observer B were excluded from the
total. This gave the number of specific whip strikes on which both
observers agreed. By dropping discrepancies, we corrected the
data so that inter-observer reliability was not an issue.
Results
From a total of 350 rider/horse interactions, there were 134
whip impacts and 104 sweeping actions that did not make contact.
After removing impacts in areas not behind the saddle, 109 clear
impacts were identified (see example in Fig. 1). These actions were
made by a total of 21 jockeys on 31 horses. The attributes of fully
recorded whip impacts are summarized in Table 1.
Inter-observer reliability
Pearson’s correlation coefficients between observers’ scores for
percentage of the abdomen struck, percentage of the hindleg
struck and percentage of the unpadded section making impact
were r = 0.791 (P,0.001), r = 0.973 (P,0.001), and r = 0.217
(P = 0.023), respectively.
For data on arms seen traveling above the shoulder, the
Pearson’s correlation coefficient was r = 0.766 (P,0.001). How-
ever, for seam contact they were r = 0.017 (P = 0.861) and visible
indentation r = 0.077, (P = 0.430). For the hindleg phase attribute
(swing versus stance), there was insufficient variation for
correlation testing to be of use.
Discussion
The putative expectation that the shaft will make contact in
unpadded sections has been borne out by the current findings. In
general, unpadded sections of the whip are more likely than not to
make contact with the horse. These data include contact made by
the binding that fixes the padded flap to the shaft of the whip.
Previous research has indicated that such binding (which in itself
cannot be padded) can increase the damage potential of whips
[10]. This is an extremely important finding given the racing
industry’s description of the padded whip as the pain-free whip
[11]. The padded whip is offering less protection than might be
expected in well over half of all strikes. It must be said that, being
closer to the jockey’s hand, the unpadded sections are therefore
traveling more slowly than the tip of the whip and so presumably
can do less damage on impact. However, being close to the
jockey’s hand means that the unpadded section is also more likely
to strike the abdomen than the hindleg (see later). This is troubling,
given that the skin of the abdomen is thought to be particularly
sensitive [12]. Until the entire length of the shaft of the whip is
padded, the racing industry’s reliance on this device as a means of
assuring horse welfare must be questioned.
The current findings suggest that it is normal for the padded
whip to make visible indentations. Indentations occurred in more
than 80% of the impacts in the current sample. Comparative
studies in mice and humans have shown that deformation of the
skin is likely to be detected by cutaneous nociceptors [13].
However, equine data on cutaneous nociception are not available
so, it is not presently known if such stimuli are noxious in racing
horses, nor is it clear if inflammation occurs as a result of repeated
use of the whip. However, if the whip does lead to nociceptor
activation and if inflammation does occur under these circum-
stances, then concerns about the adequacy of current monitoring
of whip use during races are warranted.
Arguably, the prospect of a share in the prize money may incite
jockeys to hit horses hard. These meetings were at a provincial
track on days without exceptionally large prize money. Therefore,
it is unlikely that jockeys were more motivated than usual to strike
their horses. This study has produced evidence that indentations
such as that depicted in Fig. 1 are common. A scoring system for
the severity of indentations would be an ideal means of reporting
this quality of whip impact. However, given the current imaging
system and concerns about concordance between the current
observers using a binary system of reporting indentations, this
seems ambitious.
The current finding of impact from the unpadded shaft of the
whip is also of concern. Again, data specific to horses are not
available. A previous study on cats involving using an unpadded
flexible rod to deliver a noxious stimulus showed that cutaneous
and probably deeper (muscle) nociceptors were acutely activated
and that repeated application reduced the thresholds for
Figure 1. An example of the indentations occurring in more
than 80% of the impacts reported by the two observers for the
109 actions that resulted in an impact behind the saddle.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0033398.g001
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nociceptor activation and enhanced the duration of their responses
[14]. Any extrapolation from the rigid rod used on the cats to the
unpadded shaft of whip used on racing horses is speculative. But
again, if the whip does lead to nociceptor activation in horses and if
inflammation does occur under racing conditions, the current
finding of impact from the unpadded shaft of the whip is of concern.
Inflammation is well documented to reduce the thresholds for
nociceptor activation and to enhance the duration of their responses
(for review, see [15]). Whether nociceptor activation results in pain
perception is therefore a critical issue to be considered. If, akin to the
often cited ‘‘battlefield analgesia’’, the context of a race constitutes a
‘‘stressful’’ environment and stress-induced analgesia is invoked to
defend the use of a stimulus with the potential to produce pain, then
as identified in a recent letter to the editor of the journal Pain [16],
there is a critical requirement for empirical evidence supporting this
view. If there is an anti-nociceptive/analgesic state during the race,
it begs the question that if the stimulus (the whip) has lost its salience,
then why use it at all? The need for empirical evidence is highlighted
further, given recent evidence that there is enhanced, rather than
reduced pain perception characterizing certain distinct stress-
related, affective states (e.g. [17], [18], [19], [20]).
Comparative studies suggest that repeated noxious stimuli may
result in ongoing reductions in the thresholds for activation of both
mechano-, thermo-, and nociceptive stimuli [14,21], a phenom-
enon first described in rats by Lewis more than 75 years ago [22].
The increased sensitivity of the receptors leads to enhanced pain
perception or even touch-evoked pain, and are understood as
adaptive responses which direct an organism’s behavior to
recovery mode, itself a critical component of the pain-injury
response continuum [23], [24]. It has been observed both clinically
and experimentally that such changes in pain perception can in
certain circumstances persist (for review, see [25]). Thus the post-
race impact of whip use must form an important part of the
empirical evaluation of the painful effects of whip use.
The indentations around the whip strongly imply that the seam
of the padded section often makes contact with the horse’s skin.
However, on this matter, the rules of racing are concerned only
with the seam being the point of contact and even then only when
such contact was either deliberate or reckless. This presumably
means that the Stewards are concerned for the welfare of horses if
the seam, which is more resilient than other parts of the padded
whip and therefore more likely to damage the skin, is the first part
of the whip to strike the horse. Despite working with high-
resolution files (each 200 m section amounted to approximately
260 Mb) that had captured approximately 1000 frames per whip
cycle, in more than 99% of cases, it was not possible to see if the
seam was the first point of contact that the whip made with horse’s
skin. Given our difficulty, this information must be extremely
difficult, if not impossible, to discern using the Stewards’ high-
definition video footage, which operates to a maximum of 25
frames per second. This may explain why the number of times
breaches of the seam contact rule have ever been prosecuted since
the current rules were established is negligible. Another explana-
tion is that it may be difficult for the Stewards to adequately
demonstrate that any visible seam contact has been deliberate or
reckless. In the current study, the seam was considered the point of
contact only once. All other strikes were inconclusive. Therefore, it
is suggested that the seam rule is virtually impossible to police,
even using significantly more detailed footage than is usually
reviewed by racing Stewards, and its inclusion is therefore futile.
The two horses that were struck on the head and ears may be
anomalies among this dataset but they are also concerning, since
Table 1. Occurrence of each attribute reported by the two observers for the 109 actions that resulted in an impact behind the
saddle.
Attribute Observer A Observer B
Number of specific
whip strikes on
which both
observers
concurred
Concurring results
as percentage of all
impacts
Only the unpadded section of the whip made contact 20 10 4 3.66
.10% of the unpadded section of the whip made contact 92 74 70 64.22
Visible indentation on impact 98 102 90 82.57
Seam was the point of contact 1 11 1
a
0.91
Only the abdomen struck 38 36 34 31.19
.10% of the impact struck the abdomen 94 85 82 75.23
Only the hindleg struck 18 24 15 14.76
.10% of the impact struck the hindleg 73 73 71 65.13
Clockwise whip use 13 8 3 2.75
Counterclockwise whip use 96 101 91 83.48
Whip grip – Racquet 22 23 20 18.35
Whip grip – Ski pole 78 78 76 69.72
Whip grip – Intermediate 9 8 8 7.34
Left hindleg in swing phase 107 109 107 98.17
Arm traveled above the shoulder 17 19 14
b
12.84
These data were drawn from videos taken from the outside of the track in 15 races over two meetings at the same clockwise racetrack. Unless otherwise stated, these
data represent information on 21 jockeys and 31 horses.
a
Observer A was unable to make a definitive decision on 99 occasions and Observer B on 30 occasions.
b
Data on 7 jockeys riding 7 different horses.
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they appear to represent a breach of the rules surrounding whip use.
These incidents should perhaps have been commented upon by the
Stewards but the quality of the footage they review may prevent
analysis of the standard reported here. One of the horses in question
was being ridden by a jockey who had stowed his whip in his right
hand with a racquet grip and had pushed his hands right up the
horse’s neck as he rode it home. Therefore, rather than being
wielded, the whip was flapping against the horse’s head and ears.
The second horse was struck on the padded cheek-piece of the
bridle. It is not clear whether this contact with gear would be of
interest to the Stewards in the spirit of the rule about whip use
forward of the horse’s shoulder or in the vicinity of its head.
The observers in this study agreed that the abdomen is twice as
likely to be struck with the entirety of the whip than is the hindleg.
This suggests that the abdomen rather than the leg is being targeted.
In its discussion of appropriate use of the whip, the Horse Racing
Authority (HRA, later to become the British Horseracing Authority)
[26] stated that ‘‘whips should only be used on the quarters with the whip in
either the backhand or forehand position or down the shoulder with the whip in the
backhand position’’. In veterinary nomenclature, the abdomen is not
regarded as part of the quarters. In effect, only a quarter of the whip
strikes in this study would be permitted under UK whip rules. It is
interesting that the quarters are not specified in the Australian Rules
of Racing. There is evidence from general equitation texts that the
inguinal and abdominal regions are particularly sensitive to tactile
stimulation [11], so in any attempt to optimize the welfare of horses
being whipped, it would be good to see more guidance to spare
horses from impact in these areas.
Arm action that was counter-clockwise from the jockey’s
perspective was far more common than clockwise arm action.
According to HRA stipulations, this suggests that backhand
whipping is uncommon. However, this stipulation is clearly flawed
since the hand in which the whip is being held will influence
whether it appears to travel clockwise or counter-clockwise when
viewed from the jockey’s perspective. The counter-clockwise
actions in the left hand, as reported here, are associated with
backhand whip use and clearly predominate. With the strong focus
on forehand action in the current Australian whip rules, it is
possible that the rules have inadvertently encouraged jockeys to
use backhand rather than forehand actions to avoid being
penalized. The preferred grip was holding the whip like a ski
pole. This is diagnostic of backhand whip use and therefore
confirms the predominance of a whip action that largely grants
immunity from the rules that limit the number of whip strikes and
the use of the whip with consecutive strides prior to the 100 m
mark (i.e., 100 m from the winning post). These data suggest that
the current focus on forehand whip use has lost some relevance
In this study of 109 impacts, the jockey’s arm was seen traveling
above shoulder height on 14 occasions. It is not clear how much, if
any, amplification in force that whipping from this height creates.
From the perspective of force and therefore pain, the recoil of the
whip may be more important than the height from which it
descends during its trajectory. Certainly, the bend in the whip was
considerable in many cases and this suggests stored energy that will
be released on impact with the horse. In almost all cases, the
hindleg on the side of the impact was in the swing phase when the
whip made contact with the horse. This aligns with good practice
in equitation science [27] since, in contrast with cueing the horse
to respond while its leg is supporting its bodyweight, this technique
is thought to increase the chances of the horse being able to
respond promptly.
This study reports only left-handed whip use on 40 horses by a
total of 23 jockeys on a counter-clockwise course. It may be that
right-handed whip use differs, which is especially relevant since a
previous study has shown that the right hand is generally favored
by Australian jockeys [5]. A larger study may be needed to explore
the extent to which these findings reflect whip use across Australia
and internationally. It would be useful to see high-speed cameras
used for all such studies. Despite the quality of the images derived
from the high-speed camera in the current study, inter-observer
reliability was only moderate for seam contact and visible
indentation, reflecting the difficulties in making definitive
observations, especially when horses are furthest from the camera.
There was evidence of at least 28 examples, in 9 horses, of
breaches of the whip rules (one seam contact, 13 contacts with the
head, and 14 arm actions that rose above the height of the shoulder).
There will be differences between what is reported here and the
official version of whip use at these two meetings, not least because
Racing NSW Stewards review footage recorded at fewer frames per
second and also because they view head-on footage. Head-on
footage is preferred by Stewards because it allows estimations of
whip use on both sides of the horses. However, for examination of
details such as seam contact, proportion of abdomen struck and
whip use forward of the horse’s shoulder or in the vicinity of its head, it may be
less useful than the lateral footage used in the current study.
None of the breaches detected herein was reported by the
Racing NSW Stewards. The only one violation of the whip rules
Racing NSW Stewards reported from the recorded 15 races, was
not recorded in the current series of arm and wrist actions because
the horse finished in tenth place and so was outside the current
study’s focus which was on footage of the leading horses in each
finish. The limitations on the ability of Stewards to detect and
therefore report breaches may raise concerns about horse welfare
if the whip rules are intended to ensure that horses are not
whipped unnecessarily. A similar standard is also employed in
animal welfare legislation in the other states. Ideally, high-speed
footage from both sides of the horses should be used in any optimal
bid to enforce the rules and safeguard horse welfare as proposed
by the ARB [28]. That said, some impacts will even then be
obscured by other horses, and occasionally by infrastructure, as
was frequently the case in the current study.
High-speed footage of horses at the end of races reveals numerous
unreported breaches of the rules surrounding whip use and the
unpadded section of the whip making contact on 64% of impacts.
These results cast significant doubt on the current ability of Stewards to
effectively police the rules concerning whip use and, more importantly,
challenge the notion that padding the distal section of the whip
completely safeguards horses from any possible whip-related pain.
Author Contributions
Conceived and designed the experiments: PDM. Performed the experi-
ments: PDM HS RAC. Analyzed the data: PDM RAC HS. Contributed
reagents/materials/analysis tools: HS. Wrote the paper: PDM RAC HS CB.
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... Whip use under various racing codes and the rules that surround it have recently been subject to considerable scrutiny on ethical, welfare [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11], social sustainability [10], and legal grounds PLOS ONE | https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0184091 March 7, 2018 1 / 9 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 a1111111111 [8]. ...
... Whether the whip can achieve these goals, most notably when horses are so fatigued as to be unable to respond continues to be debated [8]. Meanwhile there is evidence that striking a horse with a padded racing whip would be, at least, aversive and, at worst, possibly painful [4,13,14]. An observational study of Australian Thoroughbreds that used high-speed videography found 83% of whip strikes caused indentations of the skin of the horses whipped [4], This is of concern if one considers comparative studies in humans and mice that have demonstrated that such deformation is likely to be detected by cutaneous nociceptors [13], as did a recent study in horses [14]. ...
... Meanwhile there is evidence that striking a horse with a padded racing whip would be, at least, aversive and, at worst, possibly painful [4,13,14]. An observational study of Australian Thoroughbreds that used high-speed videography found 83% of whip strikes caused indentations of the skin of the horses whipped [4], This is of concern if one considers comparative studies in humans and mice that have demonstrated that such deformation is likely to be detected by cutaneous nociceptors [13], as did a recent study in horses [14]. There has been strong criticism of whip use by some experienced industry observers [15], and RSPCA Australia "is opposed to the use of whips on racehorses for the purpose of enhancing performance as they inflict pain and distress" [16]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The use of whips in racing is subject to current debate, not least because the prospect that fatigued horses cannot respond renders the practice futile and inhumane. The racing industries maintain whip use is a form of encouragement and that the rules of racing that govern whip use safeguard horse welfare. The current study examined longitudinal trends in the frequency of medium and fast race winning times in Australian harness racing between September 2007 and August 2016 to explore relationships with a series of changes that moderated whip use. The first change, introduced January 2010, moderated whip action so that horses were struck with less force. Subsequent amendments reversed this change for the final 200m of the race except in one racing jurisdiction. However, those amendments were eventually reversed, restoring the first rule change in all geographic locations. Despite whip use being regulated from January 2010, a long-term trend of increased frequency of both fast and medium winning times over 1609m (~1 mile) was noted. Even after adjusting for this trend, all whip handling codes were associated with greater odds of winning times being less than 1:55 minutes compared with the pre-2010 period. A similar finding for times less than 2:00 minutes did not reach statistical significance. Additionally, the periods immediately before and after introducing the most stringent regulations were compared. This revealed that, when introduced in 2010, these regulations were associated with faster winning times. Their re-introduction in 2016, was associated with no significant differences. Despite concerns that tightening of whip regulations might reduce performance, none of our analyses revealed any significant reduction in either fast or medium winning times in races following the tightening of regulations governing the use of the whip. These findings question the putative need for whips to improve racing performance.
... The use of whips in horse racing is increasingly being questioned on ethical, welfare [1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11], social sustainability [10], and legal grounds [8]. Racing industry proponents argue that "the whip is used for safety (of both rider and horse) or to encourage the horse to perform to its best when in contention", and that horses in many jurisdictions are protected from pain by whip padding and rules that govern whip use [12]. ...
... An observational study of horses racing in Australia [4] found 83% of whip strikes caused indentations of the skin of the horses whipped, and comparative studies in mice and humans showed such deformation is likely to be detected by cutaneous nociceptors [36], as did a recent study in horses [37]. Fundamentally, if an anti-nociceptive/analgesic state arises in all racing horses, it begs the question that if the whip has lost its salience, then why use it at all? ...
Article
Full-text available
The current project aims to build on knowledge of the nociceptive capability of equine skin to detect superficial acute pain, particularly in comparison to human skin. Post-mortem samples of gluteal skin were taken from men (n = 5) and women (n = 5), thoroughbreds and thoroughbred types (mares, n = 11; geldings, n = 9). Only sections that contained epidermis and dermis through to the hypodermis were analysed. Epidermal depth, dermal depth and epidermal nerve counts were conducted by a veterinary pathologist. The results revealed no significant difference between the epidermal nerve counts of humans and horses (t = 0.051, p = 0.960). There were no significant differences between epidermal thickness of humans (26.8 µm) and horses (31.6 µm) for reference (left side) samples (t = 0.117, p = 0.908). The human dermis was significantly thinner than the horse dermis (t = −2.946, p = 0.007). Epidermal samples were thicker on the right than on the left, but only significantly so for horses (t = 2.291, p = 0.023), not for humans (t = 0.694, p = 0.489). The thicker collagenous dermis of horse skin may afford some resilience versus external mechanical trauma, though as this is below the pain-detecting nerve endings, it is not considered protective from external 2 of 15 cutaneous pain. The superficial pain-sensitive epidermal layer of horse skin is as richly innervated and is of equivalent thickness as human skin, demonstrating that humans and horses have the equivalent basic anatomic structures to detect cutaneous pain. This finding challenges assumptions about the physical capacity of horses to feel pain particularly in comparison to humans, and presents physical evidence to inform the discussion and debate regarding the ethics of whipping horses.
... The question of whether to use whipping or how to use it is also a scientific research topic, and had been discussed regarding horse-welfare. The amount of whip-related pain for horses whereas recent studies have shown that whipping has no impact on horses' speed (see McGreevy et al. (2012) and Wilson et al. (2018)), and the question of whether whipping is an aid for the steering (and for the game-theoretic aspect of the horse riding) is still a matter of debate in the community (Thompson et al. (2020)). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Since the 1980s, machine learning has been widely used for horse-racing predictions, gradually expanding to where algorithms are now playing a huge role in the betting market. Machine learning has changed the horse-racing betting market over the last ten years, but main changes are still to come. The paradigm shift of neural networks (deep learning) may not only improve our ability to simply predict the outcome of a race, but it will also certainly shake our entire way of thinking about horse-racing - and maybe more generally about horses. Since 2012, deep learning provided more and more state-of-the-art results in computer vision and now statistical learning or game theory. We describe how the convergence of the three machine learning fields (computer vision, statistical learning, and game theory) will be game-changers in the next decade in our ability to predict and understand horse-racing. We consider that horse-racing is a real world laboratory where we can work on the animal-human interaction and build a non-anthropocentric Artificial Intelligence. We believe that this will lead us to understand the horses better and the interactions between animals and humans in general.
... However, studies to determine whether the whip is used as a steering device gave conflicting results [1,2]. Moreover, other studies found that some whip usage rule breaches, such as flank (side of the abdomen) contact by the whip, are not being detected [3], as well as that the backhand whip grip often generates higher force than the forehand grip [4], although another study presents conflicting results [5]. ...
Article
There is a multitude of whips and riding crops. It is assumed that the whip in thoroughbred racing must be padded and designed to be energy-absorbing. The new whips have a cushion made of softer material to be presumably more ethical when used on the horses. This study quantifies the forces exerted on a flat target plate using three different riding crops. The goal is to comparatively determine which one is less likely to leave a mark on the equine skin when the same bending level of the crop cores is achieved. Counterintuitively, it is shown that the riding crop even when its popper is made of softer material can still exert forces larger than the traditional crops with stiffer poppers made of leather. The resulting force depends on the combination of the core and the popper, but the crop core appears to have a more significant role than the crop popper.
... 4 One of their specific charges was to examine scientific evidence, public perception, and industry attitudes toward the future use of whips. Several substantive, evidence-based studies are available regarding whip use, [5][6][7][8] including the ethical assessment of whip use in horse racing. 4,9,10 The situation in horse racing is complicated by concerns for the safety of riders, even when the focus has only been on limiting the number of strikes and the use of overhand strikes. ...
Article
Thirty horse racing whips of four different designs were tested to measure dynamic impact force and compared using a specially designed mechanical testing device to simulate the whipping action of a jockey during racing. The whips tested included designs used in Thoroughbred horse racing in North America, which meet the design criteria established by the Association of Racing Commissioners International (ARCI) model rules, as well as the most common whip used in British horse racing. The objective of the device was to allow comparisons to be made between peak impact loads resulting from different whip designs. A high peak dynamic force on a horse’s shoulder or hind quarter may result in injuries, such as welts. The testing device contains a planar three-bar, open mechanical linkage loaded by torsion springs to model the arm motion of a jockey. The whip strikes a flat plate covered by an elastomeric pad. The energy input is replicated during the simulated impact. A single axis dynamic load cell under the loading plate and three single-turn precision potentiometers located at each joint of the three-arm mechanical system measure impact forces and relative angular positions, respectively. Force measurements are compared from the face of each whip and the edge or seam where applicable. In addition to the flap design, other physical differences between whip designs included mass, shaft length, shaft stiffness, flap cushion thickness/compression factor, flap surface area, and flap seam area. Statistically significant impact force differences were found between flap face and flap seam impact orientations, with higher impact forces delivered by the flap face. Significant differences were also found in impact forces between the three whip styles with seams.
... When whip rules were tightened in the latter part of 2011 by reducing the number of strikes, the BHA reported that whip breaches decreased generally as did interferences [29]. However, problems have been identified with the policing of whip rules [9,30] and there are doubts over the effectiveness of padding on whips to spare horses pain when struck [27]. ...
Article
Full-text available
The idea that whip use is critical to thoroughbred racing integrity is culturally entrenched but lacks empirical support. To test the longstanding beliefs that whip use aids steering, reduces interference, increases safety and improves finishing times, we conducted a mixed-method analysis of 126 race reports produced by official stewards of the British Horseracing Authority, representing 1178 jockeys and their horses. We compared reports from 67 "Hands and Heels" races, where whips are held but not used (whipping-free, WF), with 59 reports from case-matched races where whipping was permitted (whipping permitted, WP). Qualitative coding was used to identify and categorise units of analysis for statistical testing via logistic regression and linear mixed model regression. For both types of race, we explored stewards having anything to report at all, movement on course, interference on course, incidents related to jockey behaviour and finishing times. There were no statistically significant differences between WF and WP races for anything to report (OR: 3.06; CI: 0.74-14.73), movement on course (OR: 0.90; CI: 0.37-2.17), interference (OR: 0.90; CI: 0.37-2.17), jockey-related incidents (OR: 1.24; CI: 0.32-5.07), and race times (0.512 s, t = 1.459, p = 0.150). That is, we found no evidence that whip use improves steering, reduces interference, increases safety or improves finishing times. These findings suggest that the WF races do not compromise racing integrity. They also highlight the need for more effective ways to improve the steering of horses.
... One study involving detailed analysis of 109 whip strikes (McGreevy et al., 2012) reported that 83% of whip strikes made a visible indentation into the horse's hide and muscling when viewed in slow motion [103]. Additionally, the unpadded section of the whip made contact on 64% of impacts. ...
Article
Full-text available
This review addresses the question of whether Thoroughbred horse racing is sustainable in the context of current social values. A recently acknowledged framework, known as ‘Social License to Operate’ (SLO), provides us with a lens through which to view and assess racehorse welfare. In multiple surveys of the general public, the horse owning public, and university students, the primary topics of concern regarding Thoroughbred racing show considerable concordance: concern about catastrophic injuries—particularly as related to track surfaces, concern over the racing of two-year-olds, whip use by jockeys, drug/medication policies, and aftercare opportunities for retired Thoroughbred racehorses. Legitimacy of an industry, consent from industry stakeholders, and trust between the community players, are all essential to have and maintain SLO. In the current era of 24/7 global media access, and the proliferation of social media providing an interactive platform for all interested parties, a dramatic change has occurred in commentary related to racehorse welfare concerns. The situation at Santa Anita (California, USA) from late December 2018 through mid-November 2019 demonstrated just how tenuous the SLO for horse racing is. This article will provide a brief review of what ‘Social License to Operate’ is, along with a brief literature review of five of the areas of primary concern voiced by stakeholders.
... However, such mismatches and breathlessness seem much more likely to occur in those horses whose performance declines before races end, especially if associated with pathophysiological impediments to respiratory tract airflow and/or to alveolar gas exchange. This raises the question of whether or not whip-mediated urging by their jockeys or drivers [148,149] might lead horses to sustain high exercise levels beyond the point at which they would otherwise voluntarily slow down and thereby exacerbate the intensity of any breathlessness they may experience. The answer to this question is not clear, despite the fact that one obvious intention of whip use is to elicit and sustain maximum athletic performance [150,151]. ...
Article
Full-text available
Simple Summary Horses have superior athletic capabilities due largely to their exceptional cardiorespiratory responses during exercise. This has particular relevance to horses’ potential to experience breathlessness, especially when their athletic performance is reduced by impaired respiratory function. Breathlessness, incorporating three types of unpleasant experiences, has been noted as of significant animal welfare concern in other mammals. However, the potential for breathlessness to occur in horses as usually ridden wearing bitted bridles has not yet been evaluated in detail. Accordingly, key physiological responses to exercise and the consequences of impaired respiratory function are outlined. Then the physiological control of breathing and the generation of the aversive experiences of breathlessness are explained. Finally, the potential for horses with unimpaired and impaired respiratory function to experience the different types of breathlessness is evaluated. This information provides a basis for considering the circumstances in which breathlessness may have significant negative welfare impacts on horses as currently ridden wearing bitted bridles. Potential beneficial impacts on respiratory function of using bitless bridles are then discussed with emphasis on the underlying mechanisms and their relevance to breathlessness. It is noted that direct comparisons of cardiorespiratory responses to exercise in horses wearing bitless and bitted bridles are not available and it is recommended that such studies be undertaken. Abstract Horses engaged in strenuous exercise display physiological responses that approach the upper functional limits of key organ systems, in particular their cardiorespiratory systems. Maximum athletic performance is therefore vulnerable to factors that diminish these functional capacities, and such impairment might also lead to horses experiencing unpleasant respiratory sensations, i.e., breathlessness. The aim of this review is to use existing literature on equine cardiorespiratory physiology and athletic performance to evaluate the potential for various types of breathlessness to occur in exercising horses. In addition, we investigate the influence of management factors such as rein and bit use and of respiratory pathology on the likelihood and intensity of equine breathlessness occurring during exercise. In ridden horses, rein use that reduces the jowl angle, sometimes markedly, and conditions that partially obstruct the nasopharynx and/or larynx, impair airflow in the upper respiratory tract and lead to increased flow resistance. The associated upper airway pressure changes, transmitted to the lower airways, may have pathophysiological sequelae in the alveolae, which, in their turn, may increase airflow resistance in the lower airways and impede respiratory gas exchange. Other sequelae include decreases in respiratory minute volume and worsening of the hypoxaemia, hypercapnia and acidaemia commonly observed in healthy horses during strenuous exercise. These and other factors are implicated in the potential for ridden horses to experience three forms of breathlessness—”unpleasant respiratory effort”, “air hunger” and “chest tightness”—which arise when there is a mismatch between a heightened ventilatory drive and the adequacy of the respiratory response. It is not known to what extent, if at all, such mismatches would occur in strenuously exercising horses unhampered by low jowl angles or by pathophysiological changes at any level of the respiratory tract. However, different combinations of the three types of breathlessness seem much more likely to occur when pathophysiological conditions significantly reduce maximal athletic performance. Finally, most horses exhibit clear behavioural evidence of aversion to a bit in their mouths, varying from the bit being a mild irritant to very painful. This in itself is a significant animal welfare issue that should be addressed. A further major point is the potential for bits to disrupt the maintenance of negative pressure in the oropharynx, which apparently acts to prevent the soft palate from rising and obstructing the nasopharynx. The untoward respiratory outcomes and poor athletic performance due to this and other obstructions are well established, and suggest the potential for affected animals to experience significant intensities of breathlessness. Bitless bridle use may reduce or eliminate such effects. However, direct comparisons of the cardiorespiratory dynamics and the extent of any respiratory pathophysiology in horses wearing bitted and bitless bridles have not been conducted. Such studies would be helpful in confirming, or otherwise, the claimed potential benefits of bitless bridle use.
Article
Due to the growing emphasis on the importance of the rights and entitlements of non-human animals, horseracing has come in for renewed and, in many instances, justifiable scrutiny. This has led to an ongoing public debate concerning the use of the padded whip in particular – a debate which has been reasonably open and well contested. However, the scientific/academic debate has been disappointingly one-sided and, to date, the views of anyone other than those opposed to the continued use of the padded whip have not been given an airing. This paper seeks to redress the imbalance in the academic debate by revisiting some of the key arguments deployed by authors who express grave concerns over the use of the padded whip in racing, challenging what are taken to be significant weaknesses in many of them. For the sport to be able to make informed policy decisions on this important issue, a number of things are needed. First, a critical review of the studies available is needed. And, secondly, gaps in the literature and research need to be flagged. As things stand, the jury is still out from a scientific and philosophical point of view on the issue of whether the padded whip is painful, despite the claims of some of the more vocal critics of the practice. This paper will further look to identify the challenges ahead and the kind of research urgently needed.
Article
Full-text available
Recent studies have cast doubt on the effectiveness of whipping horses during races and this has led to questions concerning its continuing justification. Furthermore, it has been argued that whipping tired horses in racing is the most televised form of violence to animals. The present study used de-identified data from a recent independent Australian poll (n = 1,533) to characterise the 26% of respondents (113 females and 271 males) who support the whipping of racehorses and the 10% of racing enthusiasts in the sample (44 females and 63 males) who would stop watching races and betting on them if whipping were banned. Logistic regression models examining associations between age, gender, and income level of respondents demonstrated that those who support racehorse whipping are significantly more likely to be male. Among racing enthusiasts who would stop watching races and betting on them if whipping were banned, those in the lowest income bracket were over-represented. The more frequently respondents attended races or gambled on them, the more likely they were to agree that horses should be hit with a whip during the normal course of a race. These findings align with previous studies of violence among men and women but may also be attributed to male support of traditional gambling practices. Globally, racing organisations may consider the findings of the present study helpful in their deliberations on the merits of continuing the practice of whipping tired horses in the name of sport.
Book
Equine Behavior: A Guide for Veterinarians and Equine Scientists is the quintessential reference for all who really want to know what makes horses tick. Research in horse behavior has made great strides in recent years. This book examines the truth behind modern trends and ancient traditions. Full of insight, it rounds up the latest findings of practitioners and researchers from all over the world, drawing on both cutting-edge research and best practice. With more than 1,000 references, the book explores equine behavior from first principles, by considering the behavior of free-ranging horses and focusing on ways in which management and training influence the responses of their domestic counterparts. Equine physicians, trainers, handlers and owners all need to be students of equine behavior, because the first sign of a problem is often a change in behavior. So, whether you own, ride, lead, groom, feed or heal horses, what you observe is vital to your understanding. Behavioral problems in the stable and under saddle are a grave concern for equine veterinarians worldwide, because they can lead to poor performance, welfare issues, abuse and, ultimately, wastage. Traditionally, veterinarians gave priority to the physical health of their equine patients. This book is a unique attempt to demonstrate the way science can throw light on how and why problems and unwelcome behaviors arise. It also offers ways to bring about change for the better. Beautifully illustrated with photographs and line diagrams, Equine Behavior: A guide for veterinarians and equine scientists is an essential resource for practising veterinarians, students and enthusiasts with a specific interest in horses, ponies, and donkeys. Professional trainers and handlers, equine scientists and behavior therapists will also find its contents invaluable.
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Pain is better classified as an awareness of a need-state than as a sensation. It serves more to promote healing than to avoid injury. It has more in common with the phenomena of hunger and thirst than it has with seeing or hearing. The period after injury is divided into the immediate, acute and chronic stages. In each stage it is shown that pain has only a weak connection to injury but a strong connection to the body state.
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Animal welfare issues associated with whip use during Thoroughbred races in Australia are of increasing importance as the racing industry seeks to promote the well-being of its equine athletes. Recent data have questioned the justification of whip use as either an accelerator or for steering. The aim of this study was to investigate associations between whip use and prerace variables, including jockey experience, starting price, weight carried, and barrier drawn. If the whip is genuinely used in response to a given horse’s performance, there should be no consistent predictors of whip use. We explored the influence of these variables on official whip counts for the race section 400-200 m from the finish (S2), and the section 200 m to the finish (S1), and found that, for S1 alone and when whip use in S1 and S2 was summed (i.e., to summarize the final 400 m of a race), there were no significant predictors on whipping. However, in S2, apprentice jockeys whipped horses on average >3 times as compared with the nonapprentice jockeys (1.48 vs. 0.45; P = 0.022). These findings suggest that rider inexperience in Thoroughbred racing influences the distribution of whippings imposed on horses as they tire in the penultimate 200 m section and may contribute to the growing debate surrounding whip use in the sport of horse racing. This preliminary report involved only small numbers of horses and jockeys and thus should be viewed as a trigger for larger scale investigation of the prerace predictors of whip use in Thoroughbred racing.
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Riding and training horses is the basis of a multi-billion dollar industry, but their use in the developed world is predominantly for recreational, competitive, entertainment, or performance purposes. However, when we consider the poor welfare outcomes for the horses involved, our ultimate focus on fun seems a poor justification for using horses in this way. This article is not intended to diminish the use of horses in the ridden context, rather it foreshadows a time when horse welfare and equestrian competition are as balanced and sustainable as possible.
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When the main Australian racing authority attempted to moderate whip use in the interests of horse welfare, they were met with resistance from jockeys who claimed that they need the whip for occupational health and safety reasons, based on the premise that it can be used for steering and thus can prevent horses colliding with one another or with fixed objects alongside the track. The assumption that derives from this argument is that if the whip assists in steering, it will be of greatest benefit when used to the outside of the bends in the course. We examined photographs of horses racing in New South Wales (NSW), where all racing is in a clockwise direction, and images of horses racing in Victoria, where racing is counterclockwise. Of 200 jockeys racing in the counterclockwise direction, 183 (91.5%) held the whip in the right hand, and of the 200 jockeys racing clockwise, 107 (53.5%) held the whip in the right hand. There was a significant difference in the percentage of jockeys holding the whip in the outside hand (likelihood χ2 value is 102.68 with 1 df, P < 0.001) between these 2 states, where races are run in opposite directions. The primary conclusion is that the data indicate that placement of the whip seems to be primarily determined by handedness of the jockey, and not by the direction of the track. Given that more than half of NSW jockeys hold the whip in the inside hand, this study challenges the view that the whip is used for steering in NSW.
Article
Chronic widespread pain, such as observed in irritable bowel (IBS) and fibromyalgia (FMS) syndrome, are markedly affected by stress. While such forms of stress-induced hyperalgesia are generally considered manifestations of "central sensitization," recent studies in patients with IBS and FMS suggest an additional, peripheral contribution. To examine the effect of stress on muscle nociceptor function, we evaluated activity in nociceptors innervating the gastrocnemius muscle in an animal model of chronic widespread pain, water avoidance stress, in the rat. This stressor, which produces mechanical hyperalgesia in skeletal muscle produced a significant decrease (∼34%) in mechanical threshold of muscle nociceptors and a marked, ∼two-fold increase in the number of action potentials produced by a prolonged (60 s) fixed intensity suprathreshold 10 g stimulus. Stress also induced an increase in conduction velocity from 1.25 m/s to 2.09 m/s, and increased variability in neuronal activity. Given that these changes, each of at least moderate magnitude, would be expected to enhance nociceptor activity, it is likely that, taken together, they contribute to the enhanced nociception observed in this model of stress-induced chronic widespread pain.