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Australia: Will use of the whip be further restricted?

In an initiative by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), the use of the whip is being targeted by new avenues of improvement and supervision. For some, changes are necessary for the sustainability of equestrian sports.

In a statement Recommendations Published on 8 December, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) discussed the use of the whip. According to them, it shouldn’t affect the outcome of the match “.

In total, five areas for improvement were identified, the first directly related to horse racing. The AVA recalls the charter used by the tribe regarding the use of the whip. ” Today the good use of the riding crop and the consequences of its misuse depend on the behavior of the horse and its proximity to others. », is written. The Association recommends that the Charter evolve towards a “ The use of the whip no longer exists Closely linked to the concept of motivation “.

The ways to improve artificial aids are not limited to horse racing. Other equestrian sports, according to the AVA “ Define excessive or misuse of riding crop and introduce rules” Strictly monitored by barriers “. “AVA also recommends training for new riders. Effective training methods “, with the aim of” Minimize the use of artificial aids that intentionally cause discomfort, pain or fear to encourage behavior change “.

Recognize people’s expectations

It is understood and respected that horses feel pain Hadley Willsallen, president of AVA – Equine Veterinarians Australia, reminds journalists. Guardian. And add: All equestrian sports must embrace this scientific knowledge and evolve accordingly. »

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Racing Victoria, horse racing’s governing body, advocates reducing the use of riding crop to maintain social acceptance of this equestrian practice. He said that he recognized and appreciated the AVA’s view, but that the use of the whip was not a ban and was not related to the question of well-being.

In our view, the riding crop is not a welfare barrier when properly used in thoroughbred racing, but we recognize that societal expectations have evolved and its use has become unacceptable to the public. ” said a spokesperson.

“Effective use is useful”

Today, Australian horse racing rules allow riders to use their crop five times before the last 100 meters of the race, with no limit in that final stretch. It is also said that the whip should not be used excessively, ineffectively or inappropriately.

Veterinarian Catherine Ainsworth, director of Pony Club Australia, a not-for-profit organization that promotes horse riding, says the whip has its place but in most cases its mere presence is sufficient. ” If a horse is going to run away and run with another horse, it certainly helps to have an artificial aid on hand and use it effectively. “, Catherine Ainsworth explains to The Guardian. And it shows the difference between using the whip as an extension of the rider’s arm or leg, and punishment involving light contact.” If people want to continue to enjoy riding horses, they need to make sure they are trained humanely and ethically. “, she concludes.

The whip is also an item on the table in England, where its use during races will still be restricted in February. In Australia, there was the question of using riding crops in races Already closed in 2020Following the publication of two new studies.

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