The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that a modified whip will be made available to British jockeys over the next few months. Initially, the new whips will be supplied to flat jockeys, followed by jump jockeys.
The new whip, which is a modification of the existing cushioned whip, will include a microchip of the same type used to identify racehorses. This will allow the Authority to monitor how the whips wear. Of particular interest is how well the cushioning properties last.
The cushioned whip was introduced in 2004 for Jump racing and in 2007 for Flat racing. Its success has been shown by the widespread international adoption of the principle of cushioned whips in horseracing and other equine sports.
Tim Morris, Director of Equine Science and Welfare for the Authority, said:
“At present we do not know if the cushioning effect is sustained over time. Identification of individual whips via the microchip will allow objective assessment of whip age, allow estimates of the number in races where it has been used and ultimately avoid any whip wear that might affect horse welfare.