Whisker trimming and pre-competition ice to be banned in British racing

  • Horse & Hound is supported by its audience. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy. Learn more
  • British racing has banned the trimming of whiskers, bringing the sport into line with other equestrian disciplines.

    The move is among several rule changes that will come into force on 1 July.

    Trimming of sensory hairs was outlawed by the FEI – the international federation that governs the Olympic and Paralympic equestrian disciplines – in July 2021. British Eventing, British Dressage and British Showjumping have all followed suit.

    “The removal of sensory hairs (more commonly known as whiskers) will no longer be permitted, bringing British racing into line with other international equestrian disciplines,” said an update from the British Horseracing Authority today (6 June), adding that this will come into effect on 1 July.

    “Unless removed by a veterinarian on welfare grounds or to allow for treatment, the sensory hairs around a horse’s mouth, nose and eyes can no longer be clipped, shaven or removed in any way.

    “This change has been made to help ensure a horse’s tactile sensory function is not compromised, which can happen if sensory hairs are removed.”

    The rule updates also include changes to the ways in which ice is allowed to be used before a race – and bans certain equipment from the stables that is designed to have an effect on a horse’s body, such as magnetic rugs and massage pads, unless approved by a vet.

    “The use of ice on a horse prior to racing will not be permitted once the horse has arrived at the racecourse, unless approved by a BHA veterinary officer,” states the update.

    “Previously, ice was allowed to be applied to a horse on a racecourse up until two hours before the start time of a race, and within two hours if approval was granted.

    “As ice can be used to mask pain, it has now been agreed that ice or other cooling devices can only be used once a horse enters a racecourse if permission is granted from a veterinary officer.”

    An addition to the rules, intended to make clear what equipment is not allowed to be used in the racecourse stables area, adds: “Unless approved by a BHA veterinary officer, items designed or advertised to have an effect on the horse’s body system, such as magnetic boots, magnetic rugs and massage pads, should not be brought on to racecourse property.”

    You might also be interested in:

    Horse & Hound magazine, out every Thursday, is packed with all the latest news and reports, as well as interviews, specials, nostalgia, vet and training advice. Find how you can enjoy the magazine delivered to your door every week, plus options to upgrade your subscription to access our online service that brings you breaking news and reports as well as other benefits.

    You may like...