The use of the whip in horseracing
In Australian horseracing, jockeys use whips to direct their horses to move and run faster.
In 2009 the Australian Racing Board implemented a new set of rules regulating the use of whips in races. Jockeys were limited in the circumstances and manner in which they could strike a horse prior to the final 100 metres of a race, and were required to use a ‘padded’ whip: a short, wide, flat style with smooth edges and an internal shock-absorbing layer.
Veterinarian and University of Sydney Professor Paul McGreevy has studied the use of the whip at Australian Thoroughbred races. In this video, made for the National Museum of Australia’s Spirited: Australia’s Horse Story exhibition, Professor McGreevy talks about his research, in particular his 2012 observational study that used high-speed video footage of the final 200 metres of races to record how whips were used, and analyse how the data accorded with the Australian Racing Board’s rules. He explains the challenges race stewards face when attempting to apply the rules.
The footage in this video showing the use of whipping in horseracing is courtesy RSPCA Australia.
Horses in Australia is part of the National Museum's People and the Environment program. Discover more stories about people's relationships with Australia's natural and built environments on our People and the Environment website.