To Whip or Neigh?

I recently started riding with a dressage whip while working with Eros and have had great results.  I found that it doesn’t take much – if any – contact to get him out of his semi-sleepy state and in tune with the day’s lesson.
Unfortunately, I dropped the whip just before entering the show ring when I went to ride my first test. I foolishly thought that I didn’t need the added distraction. But I wish I had held on to it, and have since spent some time learning how to hold and use a whip for optimum results.

With thanks to, here are some edited and condensed tips for holding a whip. My next post will focus on how to properly use a whip.

The whip should lay in the center crease of your palm.








Many riders new to whips use their thumb to hold the whip, but they will then lose the integrity of their rein length.   As a rider, you want to be able to shorten and lengthen your rein length throughout your ride.  If you use your thumb to grip the whip you lose the ability to bring your rein up and down quickly and easily.








Place your whip in the crease running along the center of your palm. Because your thumb and top three fingers are busy with holding the reins, the responsibility of the whip moves primarily to your pinky. If you have the whip follow the crease along the center of your palm then when you turn your hand over, the angle of the whip should match the angle of your knuckles.  Problems can occur when a rider runs the whip at an angle that does not match their hand’s “lines” – this can lead to accidentally touching your horse’s flank and who knows what will happen then.








Just practice, practice, practice, and the feeling of holding the whip will become second nature.

Happy riding!

Tim and Eros



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