Buying the right riding crop is no easy task but it’s an essential part of both training and riding horses.
What is a riding crop?
In order to find the right crop for you, it’s important to understand what they are. Essentially, a crop is a rod made from cane-type material or fibreglass which is then wrapped in another material; often leather.
A thick end indicates the handle while the other end has a flexible tress which can vary in shape, width and length and is used for cuing the horse when needed.
Crops are deliberately designed to be used without the rider unbalancing themselves in the act, meaning they have a great deal of leverage with very little hand movement. Some have loops on the handle to make it easier to hold but this is not without risk – should the crop get tangled in the reins or the rider fall off and it can easily tighten around the wrist.
Why is choosing the right crop important?
Purchasing the right riding whip is just as essential as purchasing other riding equipment as it allows a rider to have greater control when on the horse. Crops act as an extension of the arm and back up the leg, allowing the rider to encourage the horse into action and to correct it should they have a fault in their posture.
There are a number of different types of this horse riding equipment, with the type required dependent on the discipline of riding being undertaken.
It is important to make sure that the crop is never used as a punishment – instead it should be used as another tool of communication. That way the horse is not afraid of it … or the person that carries it.
Types of crop for different disciplines
With so many different crops available, it is important you find the right one for you. This will be based on the type of horse riding you undertake and some of the main options include:
- Jockey crops: Set length of whip depending on the race type, with a thick padded end. Designed to encourage speed without harm and also used in other speed events by barrel racers and pole benders
- Lunge whips: a longer whip that us used to encourage a horse to move forward on the circle
- Dressage whips: the longest of short riding crops. Can be used in competition and training as the rider can maintain their posture and alignment on the horse while reaching a variety of places on its body. It is advised to always check competition rules regarding whips
- Hunting crop: is a long solid wooden whip which is usually leather bound with a deer horn end. It can be used when jumping and hacking
Other things to consider
Some crops can be very difficult to grip so it’s important to check it is comfortable before making a purchase. Thin grips could be nearly impossible for those with larger hands to hold while thicker grips may be unsuitable for smaller children.
The proper length of a riding crop should be determined by reading the relevant rule books relating to a particular discipline as in strict competition a rider could face exclusion or disqualification should their whip be outside of these limits.
The size and breed of your horse may also influence the decision as the whip purchased will need to be large enough to fulfil its duties.
You can take a look at our variety of horse whips online now.