As the debate about whip use continues on, retired rider Ramon Dominguez and current rider Ryan Moore penned an editorial in Thoroughbred Daily News this week suggesting both jockeys and regulators must compromise to come up with rules that make sense.
For too long, Dominguez and Moore said riders have ignored the public’s criticism of the riding crop, believing it comes primarily from animal rights activists who cannot be reasoned with. Likewise, they write, regulators do not grasp the importance of the crop as a safety tool. Even rules that limit its use to correction and not encouragement will force a jockey to wait until a horse already has drifted or spooked before tapping a horse on the shoulder to correct its path, lest they be accused of using the crop illegally. Those kinds of requirements can place riders and horses at risk.
“We shoulder some blame in this scenario,” the editorial reads. “As riders we have failed – and fail still – to make a persuasive argument about the crop’s use as a safety or corrective tool and its importance to the integrity of the sport. We did not move quickly to innovate its design as criticism of it grew louder. For years, we have simply insisted “we need it” while refusing to compromise on a sustainable framework for its use.”
Dominguez and Moore say riders need to come to the table prepared to make concessions about crop use, while still maintaining ability to use it for safety and encouragement, since some horses will not put forth effort without it. Regulators should focus on crafting rules that will educate and guide a change in jockeys’ behavior, rather than punish.
Dominguez is the inventor of the 360 GT crop, which he believes can assuage welfare concerns while helping jockeys retain a useful tool.
Read more at Thoroughbred Daily News
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