Thursday, February 10, 2011

Study finds whipping racehorses pointless

Whipping has no effect on the likelihood of a horse winning or being placed, according to a recent report. The authors conclude that whipping tired horses in the name of sport is very difficult to justify.

Dr David Evans and Professor Paul McGreevy based their findings on the horses’ speed, the number of times they were whipped and their place in the field. The information was gathered from five sprint races (over 1200-1250 meters) at the racetrack at Canterbury, New South Wales. 

“When we compared the sectional times 600-400m, 400-200m, 200m – finish, horses ran fastest in the 600-400m section, during which no horses were whipped”  Dr Evans explained. “Horses achieved their highest speeds during the last 600m of the races without being whipped.”

 “Increased whip use was most frequent in the final two 200 metre sections when horses were fatigued.''

“Analysis of the data showed that the strongest predictor of racing success was where a horse was placed at the 400m and 200m marks. Neither whip counts in the final 400m or 200m, nor velocity in the final 200m, significantly explained the probability of finishing 1st, 2nd or 3rd,” Prof McGreevy added.

“That said, it remains possible that whip use in the final stages of a race really does improve relative performance at a stage when all horses are slowing, but more frequent and sensitive methods of measuring velocity may be required to detect such a cause and effect linkage.” 

The authors conclude, “These data make whipping tired horses in the name of sport very difficult to justify.”

For more details see:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is about time someone put some science to what common sense would tell you. Forcing a horse to speed up when his body is saying "enough" defies logical thinking, and compassion for an animal that is making a living for you. But then no one has ever accused the racing industry of logical thinking!
Stan Rudacil, 45 years in the horse industry.