August 30, 2002, Newsletter Issue #88: Use of the Artificial Aids

Tip of the Week

This week we will discuss Whips, for English Riding, and next week the use of Whips with Western Riding, and the following week, whips for other Disciplines. The last two weeks of September, we will discuss English Spurs and then the last week, Western Spurs.

Whips are considered to be an Artificial Aid in Riding. Technically speaking the whip is to be considered (by the Rider) to be nothing more than an extension to the arm of the Rider. The use and the application of a whip, should always have this rule over the use of any whip. A Whip and Spurs should never, ever be used on a horse in anger, ever. The whip, or spurs are only to reinforce the application of the leg of the rider upon the horse. Both Artificial aids are used only for this purpose in Riding, no matter the Discipline ridden.

In Dressage, the whip is to be approximately 36" in length, with a slight lash on the end that is used on the horse. The Hunter/Jumper whip is usually called a "Riding Bat" and is usually no more than 24" in length. The Saddleseat whip is usually 30" in length and most resembles the Dressage whip.

The Knob Handle of the whip is held in the main part of the hand, and is always carried by the "inside" hand of the Rider. It is easiest to use a whip in a "rapping or a rolling motion" on or across the inside shoulder; but most frequently a horse has been already trained to have the whip applied to the inside hip area.....except in Dressage, when the length of the whip always predicates the use to the rear inside hind leg area. Should a horse not respond to a Natural aid given, the whip should accompany the Natural aid the very next time that it is applied. A whip can be used to support the outside leg, but most frequently, the whip will be required to support the inside leg aids.

It can sometimes be considered an art form in changing the whip from one hand to the other. The Long Dressage Whip should be passed over the wither of the horse, with the whip vertical upwards to the Rider`s hands. DO NOT EVER PRACTISE THIS WITHOUT FIRST MAKING SURE THAT THE VERY ACTION ITSELF DOES NOT CAUSE THE HORSE TO SPOOK OUT FROM UNDER THE RIDER. Short H/J Whips/Bats can be changed from one hand to the other with very little difficulty. The Rider simply brings their hands together over the wither and passes the whip/bat from the inside hand to the outside hand and then slowly passes the Whip/Bat smoothly upwards until it has cleared the horse, and then places the outside hand back into the normal riding position.

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