British Showjumping Rules 2020 Update: The Whip
Written by: John Coupland
As you may be aware quite a few British Showjumping rule changes came into effect from the 1st of January this year and many of them will affect you. I want to briefly go through the changes that affect whips, spurs and fetlock boots, not because of my own personal peccadilloes but because I feel that these are the rule changes that will have the biggest effect on “Your average rider” whoever and whatever he or she is. We shall just have to draw a discrete veil over aforementioned peccadilloes at this stage! In looking at the changes the principle driver is horse welfare and that has to be a good thing.
I was talking with a senior BS Judge a few days ago and she told me that having gone on an update course with BS the whole core of the course seemed to stem from the perspective of horse welfare, not just what and how we use equipment but also how courses where laid out to impose the lowest physical impact on competing horses and I have to say these changes are both timely and positive. The bulk of those who compete here at Eland are hobby riders not professionals, they typically have one or perhaps two horses and these horses are usually friends, they are very expensive friends but they play a huge part in our lives. Any rule change that promotes improved horse welfare is to our advantage and that of our furry friend in that it legislates against those who would compromise horse welfare in the pursuit of victory.
The other key reason you need to understand these rules is of course, if you compete at almost any level you will be riding subject to them. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t affiliated to BS, most shows will run subject to BS rules and speaking as a Show Organiser you can’t run subject to this rule and not subject to that rule, you take them all or not at all!
Dealing with whips first, because it’s the easiest and I’m a little lazy, the key facts are these:
- The maximum length of the bat (not whip) is 70cm and the minimum overall length is 45cm.
- There must be no binding within 17cm of the end of the PAD, here the term binding means the thread binding on the top of the pad but also the binding round the shaft.
- The minimum diameter of the shaft shall be 1 cm and the shaft shall run the entire length of the whip, so those lovely little flappy bits at the end of your whip are no longer legal, you know who you are!
- The overall weight of the whip must not exceed 160gm and this weight must be evenly distributed over the length of the whip, so the weight cannot be biased to the end for maximum effect.
- The “Contact area” that’s the bit that hits the horse, is required to be 2/5ths (40%) of the overall length of the whip and must be covered with a pad. The pad must be smooth and have no protrusions and be made of shock absorbing material throughout its circumference such that it gives a compression factor of at least 6mm. There can be no wording, advertising or embroidery of any kind on the pad.
The days of the cutting whip are over and I’m sure we all say amen to that!