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New Whip Rules

NZ Harness Trainers & Drivers Assn
Published by Pete Cook in News · 27 August 2020
As you may already know, from 1 October there will be new rules surrounding the use of the whip in force in this Country. While there will be those who will find it difficult to accept that such changes are necessary, the reality is that we have to fit in with the way the rest of the World is moving.

The Association has been involved in meetings on this issue and, from the outset we have pushed for our rules to be the same as those of Australia which are outlined below. This makes sense on a number of levels, and will hopefully eliminate the regular complaints from drivers being fined for striking a horse once or twice more than the allowed limit.
1.                  NAME AND COMMENCEMENT
1.1         These regulations are the Whip and Rein Regulations made by the Board under rule 866 of the New Zealand Rules of Harness Racing and Rules and clause 14.4 of the Constitution of Harness Racing New Zealand Incorporated.
1.2         These regulations come into force on 1 October 2020.
2.                  APPROVAL OF WHIP
2.1      A Stipendiary Steward may approve for use a whip that:
2.1.1      has a maximum overall length of 1200 mm or less;
2.1.2      is flexible with a core of fiberglass with a handle base and shaft;
2.1.3      has a leather keeper to a maximum 60 millimetres in length and 20 millimetres in width; and
2.1.4      is coloured black or dark tan.
2.2         A list of approved whips is set out in the First Schedule.
2.3         A driver may only use an approved whip.
2.4         A driver shall not use or carry a metal lined whip.
2.5         A whip may not be modified other than any whip sold with a cracker or tassel must have these removed prior to use.
2.6         A driver may only use a whip that is maintained in good condition and complies with the requirements of this regulation
3.                  USE OF THE WHIP
3.1         A driver may only apply the whip in a wrist only flicking motion whilst holding a rein in each hand with the tip of the whip pointed forward in an action which does not engage the shoulder.
3.2         For the purposes of clause 3.1, “wrist only flicking motion” means:
3.2.1      Ensuring no force is generated by the use of the elbow or shoulder when applying the whip.
3.2.2      The forearm is not raised beyond forty-five degrees relative to the racing surface.
3.2.3      Not applying the whip with overt force.
3.3         A driver shall not use a whip in an unapproved manner.
3.4         For the purposes clause 3.3 a driver shall be deemed to have used the whip in an unapproved manner in the following circumstances which are not exclusive:
3.4.1      If the whip is applied other than as permitted in clause 3.1.
3.4.2      If the whip is applied excessively, continuously, or without allowing the horse time to respond.
3.4.3      If the whip is applied when the horse:           is not visibly responding.           is not in contention.           cannot maintain or improve its position.           is clearly winning.           has passed the winning post at the finish of a race.
3.4.3      If the whip is used when the reins are lengthened so as to result in loose reining.
3.4.4      If the whip is used in a prodding or jabbing fashion.
3.5   A driver must not use the whip in a manner which causes injury to a horse.
3.6   A whip shall not be used in a manner that may obstruct, strike or endanger another driver or horse.
3.7   A driver must ensure a whip does not project outside his or her sulky.

4.4         A driver may not use the ends of a rein as a whip.
4.5         A driver must drive throughout the race with a hand on each rein (subject to 4.7 below).
4.6         A driver must not extend either hand on the rein in a manner which results in excessively lengthening or loosening the rein.
4.7         A driver may not cross the reins except:
4.7.3      when activating gear; or
4.7.4      for safety reasons.

1.         Approved Whips
Whip Name or Brand
Westfield diamond weave         
Blue Tag dressage whip - non-slip grip   
Finntack trotting training whip 48 inch    
There is also an excellent video featuring top Australian driver Todd McCarthy which can be found on HRA website:
Pete Cook
A full PDF copy of the New Whip Rules can be downloaded by clicling on this link

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