Jockeys commit almost 50% more whip offences in 2023

Posted on the 19th January 2024

Disturbing figures show that whip offences by jockeys have increased by 48.5% in 2023 when compared to figures from 2022.

Following a lengthy review into the whip in 2022, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) succumbed to pressure from jockeys and made only cursory changes to whip rules (including a change to the number of ‘strikes’ allowed – 7 in a Jump race, 6 in a Flat race). Despite these changes, and a ‘bedding-in’ period for jockeys, the volume of whip offences has increased significantly in 2023.

Read more about the BHA's U-turn on the use of the whip here

There were 637 offences in total, by 315 jockeys, mostly for using the whip above the permitted level of strikes. Other offences include hitting a horse without time to respond, in the incorrect place or with excessive force. Five horses were wealed (where a whip creates a raised mark on a horse’s skin).

The highest offending jockey, Kielan Woods, abused nine different horses with his whip in 2023 – including two different horses on the same day. These continuous abuses highlight the low regard the BHA holds for horses’ welfare, and the inefficiency of the current penalty system.

jockey whipping horse

The racing industry will continue to circulate its rhetoric that when used ‘correctly’ the whip does not hurt horses, or that a horse responds due to the sound of the whip. This is a falsehood; a 2022 paper funded by RSPCA Australia concluded that horses and humans have a similar capacity to feel pain.


In what other sport is it acceptable to be beaten to the finish line?

To find out more about our campaign to ban the whip, click here

Read more posts...

Celebrating Animal Law Day

On the 22nd of July, we celebrate Animal Law Day, an important opportunity to reflect on the advancements made in animal protection legislation and reaffirm our commitment to advocating for the rights of animals.

Posted 22 Jul 2024