Three heaters? Whipping?
Change seems to be coming.
Today in the Jugette, a three heater was needed. If we show three heats on network TV I think that would earn us about, oh, no fans. "I can't believe those horses are raced three times in a day" would probably be said by more than one new viewer. It's not unlike the uneasy feeling that I get when I watch steeplechases. I close my eyes over almost every jump. Anyhow, back to reality - The Jug folks are letting it be known that going to one final for the Jug is open to them. Andrew Cohen explored this fact on his blog. We have spoken about this here before and there are numerous comments at Andrew's site.
Next up, the change banner is lifted by Hall of Famer John Campbell. He writes to the Harness Edge mailbox that changing the whipping rules is "... a responsible measure to ensure the human treatment of the horse."
Further, breeding expert Norman Hall replies on the Harness Edge to the Harness Horse Association release (which came out hard against changing the whipping rules) by saying "And the beat goes on - or so it seems with OHHA defending the right of drivers to beat the back off their horses. The safety issue is a red herring that stinks of self interest."
Whips banned in Kentucky?
Last up, Jeremy Rose who received a three month suspension for misusing the whip recently had this to say about his suspension (thanks to Equidaily for the link): “I still think it’s a big plus for the industry,” he said. “I think they have to make those strides to make it main stream. I think they’re doing the right things by changing the (whipping) sticks a little bit and being a little harder on us with hitting a horse too many times or too hard in the wrong areas.”
I have made my thoughts known on whipping. I don't think it is a be all and end all, but it does seem to be for another place and another time. I personally think we let the wink wink, nudge nudge of feet on the hocks and whips where the sun don't shine go on for far too long, and now I think we are paying for this. I do not know who is right and who is wrong in this argument, but I stand behind my original opinion: This is going to happen. It will change. It is not an argument anymore, it is a done deal. We move at snail like speed in racing so the chatter of various self-interests will probably deafen the landscape for a decade, but it's time to move on. The argument is over.