What is a jockey’s whip made from?
Despite repeated calls from animal rights groups, including Animal Aid, to ban the use of the whip in British horse racing, on the grounds that whipping is cruel, painful and intimidatory, the modern jockey’s whip is a far cry from the traditional, leather riding crop. Nowadays, the regulatory body for horse racing in Britain, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), has strict rules regarding the construction and dimensions of whips permitted in racing, not to mention number of times and manner in which whips can be used.
The current design of the whip, developed in association with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), is intended to create a loud noise and encourage a horse to move forward, without creating discomfort or injury. The modern jockey’s whip consists of a composite backbone, surrounded by polymer, or plastic, and encased in thick, high-density foam padding. At the time of writing, ProCush, which makes whips by hand, to custom specifications, is the only accredited supplier of whips for use in British horse racing. Furthermore, whips are inspected by the Clerk of the Scales when jockeys weigh out for each race to ensure that they conform to the appropriate standards and remain fit for purpose.