...and on the eighth day God created the horse in perfect image, to romp, play, gallop, graze, and make manure wherever it darn well pleases, in divine grace.
Indiana Jones sported one in all of his adventures, and often is heard the line, “Let’s get crackin’!” from sports coaches or bosses on the job who want more speed and precision from their charges.
I will not longe a horse without one, because they are either lazy or aggressive. I use it as just a reminder for who is the Alpha herd member in our two-horse outfit.
Whips were designed to be used as tools, for inflicting pain on people or animals.
“Horse-whipping” of slaves or criminals was used as punishment in centuries past and in biblical times.
Nowadays, over-use and repetitive beating of an animal is considered abuse.
Whips have two categories, long-range and short-range. (1)
Long-range whips, such as a longe whip or a team whip, help the driver or trainer reach out all the way to the animal, several feet away.
Short-range whips, such as sticks or crops, are firm, yet flexible, and directly strike and contact the animal. The flexibility of the stick can be moderate to highly flexible. (2)
Whips are used to gain control of an animal, as a riding aid or for guidance control.
Tapping the animal lightly can be a reliable method to get its attention and maintain control, or to increase tempo of speed.
Long, loose whips can make a loud cracking sound, and the animal instinctively knows and responds.
The “Tele-whip” is the slickest thing I’ve ever seen in the work-out arena. It does just what is says, reaching a far-out 20 feet or so, to tickle the heels of a slow-moving horse and keep him focused on the task at hand. (3)
The long, fishing rod-like acrylic handle can have the nylon string of the whip wrap up on keepers for a neat appearance in the tack room, when not in use.
Whips are the first man-made items to ever breach the sound barrier.
The cracking sound of the whip is created by a ripple in the whip material.
A sharp flick of the wrist at the handle produces a loud sound, as a ripple escalates quickly out toward the end of the whip tail.
As the ripple travels, its gathers speed until it actually breaches the sound barrier, at a speed of more than thirty times the initial flick of the wrist.
The cracking of a long-whip is actually a mini sonic boom. (4)
Short riding crops can get your horse to pick up the pace. Simply tapping your riding boot creates a loud sound and keeps him alert. Crops often have a wide leather popper at the end, as sound more than contact is desired.
Buggy whips and longe whips can snap in the air overhead, and when wiggled, create a hissing sound, for attention and alertness.
Buggy whips are also used with a coach-and-six.
Bull whips are a single-tailed whip with a thick, long lash, thicker than a longe whip.
They have a short, thick handle and when cracked, they make a loud sound.
They are generally used to move cattle along a designated route, but the aim is not precise and is unreliable.
A yard whip is used at slaughterhouses, in small corrals.
Other stock whips are called cattle drafters, “bullocky whips,” rose whips, and Raman whips.
The Florida cow whip is a two-piece design, with a hole in the handle and two strands of leather thong tied off. (5)
Signal whips are used to control dog sled teams.
Snake whips do not have any handle, an can be curled up into a cowboy’s saddlebag, looking much like a coiled snake.
Small, pocket snake whips do not have handles, either, are at least 3 feet long and can be put into a pocket. They are used for loading cattle onto trucks. (6)
The short riding whips used for horses, known as crops, poppers, or bats, are only 2 feet to 2.5 feet long.
Dressage whips are 43 inches long and are strictly used to refine the leg or other aids for the rider.
Saddleseat whips can be 48 inches to 50 inches long, and trainers sometimes go for the swishing sound in halter classes, to get the horse rowled-up and flashy.
Driving whips in park harness classes are mostly for show, also.
Hondo whips are used in western riding disciplines.
Quirts are also used in western riding, and are short, thickly braided, leather pieces, more noisy than painful, and are not used for aids or guidance on the horse, but rather, to reach out and strike a steer when a cowboy is herding cattle.
Traditional show canes, sometimes used for draft horses, come in holly, birch or cherry wood, and are short and stiff. They can be covered in braided leather, plain leather, or nothing.
Chinese Qilinbian “unicorn whips” are an awful device of metal chain wrapped in leather, with a lash of segmented, steel rods that digress into small steel rings.
These are used in performances. (7)
The Jiujibian Chinese whip is a nine-section whip used for the marital arts.
A Cat-o’-nine-tails, or catty-nine-tails, may have been used at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ, during the scourging phase of the Passion. It features a short, firm handle, with nine leather thongs.
Here's the interpretive part: I’m with all the rest of the horsemen on this one. Thongs are strips of leather, and whips are to be used as aids or refinement to the rider.
Any use of whips outside the barnyard, show ring, or cattle yard is creepy and girls parading around bar rooms with riding crops in-hand is just plain weird. I would’ve told that one where I was going to shove her whip, but she was big and scary.
So long for now, more next time.
Dusting my whip-holder to the immortal words of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, “Happy Trails to You.”
1,2, 4-6: Internet/ Wikipedia
3: Nicole Koontz at her old Hoofbeat Trails Stable