Harness Whip Ban Could Make Its Way to Gallops

In the not too distant future, when the winning jockey is interviewed in the post-race conference following winning the Melbourne Cup, he will be asked how he got his mount to run so fast.

“I simply pointed out to the horse that he might experience emotional regrets afterward if he did not run as fast as possible and permitted one or more of the other horses to finish ahead of him,” said the rider.

“To be a top hoop on the circuit, keen insight into horse psychology is essential,” the jockey continued, “In the brutal, old days of gallops, I would have applied a carefully regulated number of strokes with a riding crop, and perhaps said some unkind things to the horse, such as questioning his ancestry or his breeding preferences.”

“Now, I’ve learned to make a sincere appeal to the horse’s natural competitive instincts, enlisting his cooperation and promising him non-specific, implied rewards to come.”

Full disclaimer: No jockey has said any such things and in all probability, none ever will.

Several days ago, however, we raised the possibility that the ban on the use of whips in harness would make its way into gallops. We would say that we hate to big-note ourselves, but the truth is that we completely enjoy the opportunity to point out those rare occasions when we are right.

Two leading figures of the harness industry, HRV chairman Dale Monteith and Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association President Lance Justice, have both made remarks confirming that whips are on the way out of all horse racing codes.

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