I worked in the racing industry for quite a while, was foreman (or woman) of two barns.....my thoughts and my experience:
During daily trackwork, whips were sometimes carried, not always. Usually during gallop work (which some people like to think is everyday! Not true) a whip is carried, but seldom used. I hardly ever saw a horse come off from trackwork with a welt on it....and if it did have a welt on its butt it was usually because of some dangerous behaviour like rearing at the gap (entrance onto tracks) to get him moving forward or backing up at the gap.....but I would spank my horse too for doing that!
During racedays, again, evidence of welts was very seldom and people forget that sometimes the whip is used like a leg to push a horse over off the rail or from clipping another horse.....jockeys have next to no leg aid. Also, I do believe that there is overuse in some instances, where clearly the horse is just out of the running....quit sticking him. And the jockeys that do this are fined and sometimes suspended for it.
A whip is just like a bit or spurs.....overuse can cause a horse to somewhat become numb or dead to an aid (a whip is an aid - some people don't buy that either) so its in the best interests of every trainer, track worker and jockey to only use the whip when absolutely necessary so the horse stays responsive and fresh to it. It's like riding your horse without spurs for a month then popping them on one day to get a more responsive ride.....no different.
Some racehorses only ever get a taste of the whip in the last 100-300 meters of the course proper on racedays! I have no problem with that.
Last edited by Muppetgirl; 10-24-2012 at 07:36 PM.