As a trainer for nearly 40 years and being foaled instead of born, I have seen many changes in our sport, both good and bad, but to the best of my memory, I have never seen the turmoil we are facing today.
It is my belief that there are many things within our sport that could be improved on, but none more vital than the issue of whipping. Having spent many of the past 40 years bearing witness to spectators taking in the sport, sometimes for the first time, I can speak first hand of the commentary often relayed about the use of whipping in our sport. Nothing feels more contradictory to me than watching a jockey whip and whip our equine athletes, often asking them to give more than they have to offer, only to show affection once they pass the finish line. I believe that, like in many other equine disciplines, jockeys should be allowed to carry a whip, but with restrictions. I believe that the whip should never be allowed to come above their waist, except when switching hands, and should be used as a tool of guidance–not excessive encouragement. I know this is only one of the major issues our sport currently faces, but it is my belief that it will be one of the most effective ways to remind the public that we care and love these equine athletes. And I believe it is what will be best for our sport moving forward.