Is the whip indispensable to practice horse riding?

Like any sport, horse riding has its own range of equipment and accessories. Some of them are mandatory, like the bomb. Others are optional, but are nevertheless very popular with riders, especially the riding crop. To use this tool wisely, it is important to choose the right model and to use it properly.

Uses of the whip

The riding crop is considered to be an artificial aid. It is used to help the rider to make his horse understand his gestures better. Regardless of the discipline, many riders use a riding crop. However, it is primarily a deterrent. The goal is to surprise the horse more than to hurt it. The whip should therefore only be used as a last resort. For example, a blow is necessary when the horse does not react to the rider's leg movements or natural aids. It is also used if the horse shows signs of hesitation in front of an obstacle.

Different types of riding crop

Depending on the discipline, there are several types of riding crop. The first type of riding crop is called jumping or cross-country riding crop. A whip of this type has the particularity of being very short and therefore not very bulky. It measures on average 40 to 50 cm and is ideal for running, jumping or cross-country riding. On the other hand, there are longer standard whips, with an average length of 70 cm. These whips are the most common and are often used by beginners to strengthen their aids. Standard whips are suitable for all disciplines except running. Finally, there are the dressage whips called sticks, which measure about 110 cm. Due to their length, these whips are reserved for professionals and only for flat disciplines.

How to do without a whip?

In recent years, more and more riders have been abandoning the whip. If for some, using this tool is essential for riding, others consider it as an instrument of constraint. Riding is above all a question of trust between the rider and his horse. If the horse feels comfortable enough, the use of a whip will no longer be necessary. To do this, one must take the time to understand the animal. The whip will tend to make the rider less patient. It is therefore essential to learn how to deconstruct the horse's reactions. Focusing on natural aids and establishing a reward system are often enough to train a horse. Moreover, there is nothing like good communication and a calm environment to build confidence. Finally, it is important to look at possible blockages that cause the animal to disobey, especially if it is injured or afraid of something.
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