Posted on the 13th February 2023

Today (Monday 13 February 2023), the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) new whip rules will be implemented for Jumps racing, following a ‘bedding in’ period of a month, and a further delay of a week for the new rules to take effect.

Despite a lengthy review into the use of the whip in 2022, the BHA, at the start of this year, caved in to pressure from jockeys and backtracked on one of the new rules’ most fundamental recommendations which would have banned jockeys from hitting their horses in the forehand position. Equally shocking, even though the new rules have reduced the number of permitted strikes with the whip, jockeys may still hit their horses seven times in a Jumps race.

The ‘bedding in’ period, which started on 9 January 2023, seems to have made little difference to the way in which jockeys treat their horses. From the start of this year (until 31 January 2023), there have been 26 breaches of the rules, with 14 of those taking place after the start of the bedding in period. At the end of January, Sean Bowen received an 18-day ban from racing, for persistent misuse of the whip over a six-month period.

As the racing industry begins its promotion of the Cheltenham and Grand National festivals in March and April, the only sure bet is that horses will continue to suffer beatings, as well as racing-related injuries, for an industry which puts profit ahead of welfare.

Animal Aid will continue to monitor and campaign against the whipping of horses, as we have done for many years, to raise public and political awareness of the dreadful mistreatment of horses in racing.

Additional notes:

  • New rules for Flat racing will be implemented from 27 March with jockeys being allowed to hit their horses six times during a race.
  • In 2021, Animal Aid’s undercover footage from an abattoir that slaughters horses – including race horses – was featured exclusively on Panorama.




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