New Jersey Commission Adopts Stricter Whip Rules: Prevents Use ‘Except For Reasons Of Safety’

On Wednesday, the New Jersey Racing Commission issued a strict new rule governing jockeys’ use of the riding whip, according to the Daily Racing Form. Beginning in 2021, jockeys at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, NJ will not be allowed to use the whip “except for reasons of safety.”

The commission adopted the new rule unanimously, despite objections by The Jockeys’ Guild. It is the strictest rule in the United States.

“The prohibition of the use of riding crops, except when necessary for the safety of horse or rider, will be perceived in a positive light by the general public,” said a statement from the NJRC. “The proposed repeal and new rules are of the utmost importance in adapting the industry to avoid the currently negative public perception of whipping a horse.”

Stewards will be in charge of determining whether jockeys used the whip to maintain control of the horse, and will be able to fine or suspend jockeys if they determine a jockey used the whip “to achieve a better placing.”

The rule continues: “If the riding crop is used, under the supervision of the stewards, there shall be a visual inspection of each horse following each race for evidence of excessive or brutal use of the riding crop.”

Specifications for the whip itself include that it must be “soft-padded [and] have a shaft and a soft tube,” that it does not exceed eight ounces in weight or 30 inches in length, and has a minimum shaft diameter of three-eighths of one inch. Additionally, “the shaft, beyond the grip, must be smooth, with no protrusions or raised surface, and covered by shock absorbing material that gives a compression factor of at least one millimeter throughout its circumference.”

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