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Posted 2023-11-15 10:04:27  
12 Crop Rule is becoming a Nuisance

The 12 strike crop rule is becoming a sticky point in South African racing and is clearly not working the way it intended. Jockeys are being fined regularly for over shooting the mark and 1 or 2 strikes over the limit lead to severe penulties, both riding and financial - neither can they afford under the current climate.

There are a couple of interesting points to note. 12 strikes vs unlimited strikes is a 'sore' point. If the crop really hurts a horse then it should not be used at all, right? By all accounts it does not hurt. It's noisy and can be felt but not in a malicious way. If hit 12 or 14 or 10 times, does it make a difference to the horse or are we worried about the perception with the public?

Next, if we delimit it to, for example, unlimited strikes completely does it make a difference to the horse? Or consider the alternative which is to find a happy medium where a jockey can strike a horse for an unlimited amount of times within a specified distance. Let's say 400m out, if a jockey strikes a horse an unlimited amount of times and prior is limited to only striking the horse if he/she misbehaves or needs a wake up (this can be justified to the stipes post race), will that work?

When it comes down to race riding and what a jockey should concentrate on - is it more dangerous to give a jockey more things to think about in a race. Pre-race he has his instructions; owners to please and trainers to listen to. In a race he/she is forced to count (along with remembering all of the above instructions) whilst also attempting to ride to a certain tempo for that given distance and class as well as positioning a horse properly and balancing etc, let alone trying to win a race or ride the horse to the most optimal position. The more talented in our population can do that but the majority cannot be asked to consider so many factors in a short time frame of a race.

Time for sense.. Should they be allowed unlimited strikes in the final 400m of a race?

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