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New whipping rules in Ontario now in effect

September 02, 2009

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All participants in horseracing in Ontario are reminded that new rules governing the urging of horses came into effect on Sept. 1. The rules – which will apply to Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing – focus on the safety of the participants, the welfare of the horse and the perception of the product.
Among the provisions in the new rules: for Standardbred racing, there is now a requirement to keep a line in each hand for the entire race. Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse rules now stipulate only a "humane or cushion" riding crop may be used, and the horse must be allowed time to respond before it may be used again. For all breeds, new penalty guidelines are in place to reflect the importance of adhering to these new rules on urging of the horse.
The Ontario Racing Commission (ORC) launched the process of developing new rules on the urging of horses one year ago. With input from industry members, the respective breed groups submitted proposed rule changes to the ORC Board. After careful consideration, the rules were subsequently approved by the Board in early summer.
As noted in an earlier notice announcing the new rules, ORC Chair Rod Seiling said the time was right to move forward on this issue. ‘We believe these new rules are fair, enforceable and appropriate for today’s racing industry.” He also acknowledged the work undertaken by the multi-breed working groups who contributed to the process.
In order to facilitate an orderly and workable transition to the new rules, special paddock meetings and education sessions were conducted at racetracks across the province.
Ontario’s racetracks are also being called upon to educate the betting public and assist in the efforts to communicate to the racing community. The ORC has developed and distributed various materials for their use, including ads for racing programs, ‘announcements’ for public address systems, and text messages for tote board and/or simulcast broadcast. (ORC)
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