Whipping May Not Help Win Race!
Whipping does not necessarily make a racehorse run faster, new research from two University of Sydney veterinarians has revealed.
The study, which has been peer-reviewed and published by the Public Library of Science, investigated the impact of whipping on performance in thoroughbred races.
Study co-author and Honorary Associate Professor at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Dr David Evans, said the results offer no support for the retention of whipping in horse racing.
“We looked at running times in a series of races, how whips were used and whether that whip use influenced the outcome of a race,” he said.
“What we found was that whipping did not affect the probability of whether or not a horse finished a race in the first three placings.
“How a horse ran in the first part of a race, when it wasn’t being whipped, was the most critical factor in racing success. So horses are being whipped in the final stages of a race, in the face of muscle fatigue, for no benefit.”
Animal behaviour expert and co-author Professor Paul McGreevy said he hoped this research would highlight the fallacy and futility of whipping.
“The reason for whip use has traditionally been the need to be seen to ride the horse out and the suggestion that you can steer a horse with the whip,” he said.
“Many horse riders, and certainly these findings, refute that. Top performance horses have been bred and prepared to give their best.