A brand new British Driving Golf equipment (BRC) rule on whip use has been launched to assist educate riders and enhance horse welfare.
BRC’s 2023 guidelines state that the whip should solely be used to help the rider’s pure aids, and by no means when a horse or pony has turned away after a refusal, or after elimination. Use behind the rider’s leg or on the shoulder is allowed however by no means on the horse’s head or neck.
Head of BRC Rachael Hollely-Thompson advised H&H the organisation, which is a part of the British Horse Society (BHS), “takes horse welfare extremely critically”.
“Horse welfare is one thing we discuss each day; it’s at all times on the forefront of our minds,” she stated. “The BHS is in a singular place because it has nice hyperlinks with different welfare organisations frequently doing research and analysis on whip use.
“We mirrored on what we’d like members to be doing and the crux was that the whip has to again up pure aids, however it shouldn’t be used to punish.”
The principles state that acceptable whip use could be to assist encourage a horse or pony to go ahead, or to remain straight on the method to a fence. “It must not ever be used to vent a rider’s mood; any use for such a purpose is mechanically extreme.”
“As an assist, the suitable time is when the horse/horse is reluctant to go ahead beneath pure aids i.e. seat and legs,” the BRC rulebook states. “Its use, as an example, after a refusal when a pony/horse has turned away, is extreme. Its use after elimination is extreme.”
Whips should additionally at all times be carried within the forehand place, with the deal with pointing upwards, fairly than backhand.
“To see over-use or the whip utilized in mood will not be one thing that’s tolerated by the BHS or BRC,” Ms Hollely-Thompson stated. “And except we put that within the guidelines, we’re not in a position to educate when folks do the improper factor.”
Ms Hollely-Thompson referenced scientific research on the best way horses be taught, “when a horse is in an anxious or pressured state, it reduces studying capability, and utilizing the whip as punishment isn’t efficient”.
“It doesn’t assist the horse be taught so if it’s not efficient, why are we permitting it?” she requested. “We’ve got an enormous number of members, from grassroots to very aggressive riders, and a few riders want help for his or her pure aids, and a few horses reply higher to supportive use of the whip, however it must be used on the acceptable time.”
If a horse has refused as soon as and is approaching a fence a second time, the whip could also be used as back-up to the legs if wanted; it’s encouragement, not punishment, that’s acceptable. Misuse of the whip can imply as much as 25 penalties or disqualification.
“It doesn’t look good, it’s not useful to the horse and possibly not useful to the rider,” Ms Hollely-Thompson stated. “And it’s in all probability out of mood fairly than what’s greatest for the horse. Typically, I feel folks carry issues on via behavior but when a rule’s been there a very long time, it doesn’t imply it’s nonetheless right and related, and if not, it’s doing one thing about it.”
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