Last Updated on March 18, 2022 by Allison Price
A riding crop is a whip that’s used to attach the horse’s shoulder to the ground. It is used with horses of all ages, including green horses and riders. It helps me to sense forwardness in the leg, and it helps to teach my shoulders to follow the nose while steering with the reins.
A dressage whip is a whip that is used mostly on the flank and sometimes behind the leg by more coordinated riders. It is used with horses and riders who have learned or are learning how to move horses away from their legs in a yield or can drive engagement and ride drive from behind into contact. It is also useful in dressage and flatwork.
I will only use spurs on educated horses and riders. They should only be used to improve the aids at the higher levels. I do not believe they can be used to cause forwardness in the leg. You must learn how to make your horse feel the leg aid, not just add spurs if they are dead to the leg. I only give spurs to riders who have great control over their lower leg, are very aware of the horse’s movements and are sensitive to their responses. Spurs don’t make horses more sensitive to their leg. If you try to make them more sensitive, you risk making them buck at you.
The whip is used to alert the horse to the position of the leg. We teach the horse that pressure release is used to teach them the consequences of not responding to light leg aids. The aids will get stronger until the horse does respond and then the aids will disappear. The whip will make the horse more likely to respond because there is only so much strength in our legs. They will begin to respond to the light leg aid once they realize that we are going with a light aid. If they don’t understand this method of training, it won’t work.
1. The aid can’t be made stronger by not riding with a whip.
2. Is the whip used for punishment?
3. Don’t take the whip off the horse when he responds, and don’t continue to bother them even when they try and give it their best
These 3 factors are the best ways to get your horse to listen to you and to desensitize it to your leg, so that they don’t respond.
A green horse will allow me to start with the riding crop. This will help develop forwardness from the knee and shoulder, so that the nose can be moved away from the leg. The horse will become more educated, and the horse is able to maintain forwardness from his leg without whip. I will also start working on engagement. Engagement requires the horse to shift more weight onto his hindquarters and pull more from the front than from the back. Once this transition is complete, I will use the dressage whip to increase forwardness and drive from the haunches.
The dressage whip can cause a horse to buck, kick out, or jump up if it is being used with a horse who doesn’t know how to drive from behind, or a rider who doesn’t know how to ride into contact. Horse and rider must be able to move with ease and throughness. After the horse has established forwardness, swing, engagement, and throughness, we might consider using spurs to improve the lateral aids. We may also introduce more complicated aids such as shoulder in, half-pass, pirouette, etc. These can be done easily without spurs. The spurs only allow for quieter legs and better communication.