Quotes exposing the truth of the whip

In their more guarded moments, jockeys and other industry figures avoid any suggestion that horses are beaten to make them run harder. Instead, they will argue that the whip is used for reasons of ‘safety’ or for ‘correction’. This explanation is offered even though the majority of strikes against horses come in the final stages of a race when riders are desperate to win, and are beating their horses to achieve that end.

‘The well worn argument that jockeys must be allowed to use sticks, as they currently do to keep horses straight, was well and truly exploded by Richard Hughes on Channel 4’s The Morning Line on Saturday morning. Hughes had been unseated from Kojak at Ascot last week, when the two-year-old swerved violently to the left. Hughes expressed the opinion that the horse probably behaved erratically because he hit it. So much for whips keeping horses straight.’ (Daily Telegraph, 16 May 2010)

A prominent racing figure and Director of Towcester Racecourse, Charlie Brooks, expressed the truth about the ‘safety and correction’ myth in his Daily Telegraph column

‘… if you are on a horse that’s a bit lazy and wants a couple of smacks early on in the race to keep him up to his job, your eight have gone and you’re just watching the race go away from you…You can’t ask the horse for the effort he needs to give to win when you are reduced to a passenger’ (Irish Times, 23 October 2011).

An insight into the physically and psychologically intimidating effects that a whip has on so-called ‘lazy’ horses was exposed in a throw-away comment made by jockey Barry Geraghty

‘My horse probably made it look easier than he did it …He’s definitely one of those that if you give him a kick in the belly, he’ll find a bit, but I’m not sure he’s going to sprint clear’ (The Independent, 10 January 2012).

Barry Geraghty reiterated the role of violence in racing a few weeks later

‘… Horses are animals and animals can’t be treated as humans. Race horses are a specific breed to do a specific job. They’re not pets.

‘We need the whip to ride them to encourage them to go faster.’ (ESPN, February 2012)

Now retired jump jockey Ruby Walsh commented