Quick tips for switching your whip with ease

Hi Guys,

Lots of riders are confused about how to smoothly switch their long dressage whip from one hand to the other. Many of you tell me you feel awkward while doing this, and you're concerned about making your horse uncomfortable and disturbing the contact because you're twisting the bit in your his mouth.

Here's a step-by-step method to switch your dressage whip without disturbing the contact with your horse's mouth. I recommend practicing this technique at first with your bridle on a hook or by looping a piece of rope around a fence and pretending the rope is the two reins.

That way you can practice the method enough so that it becomes automatic rather than mechanical. You'll need to do quite a few repetitions in a left-brained, mechanical way before this skill gets turned over to the right side of the brain where you don't even have to think about it. So that's why it's a good idea to practice when you're not on your horse.

1. Put both reins and the whip in the same hand.For example, put both reins and the whip in your right hand.

2. Turn your right hand so your thumb is facing down and your baby finger is pointed up. With your hand in this position, the butt end of the whip points toward the withers and the lash of the whip points straight toward the sky.

3. Now, turn your left hand upside down so your left thumb is on top of your right baby finger.

4. With your left hand in that "upside down" position, curl your fingers around the whip.

5. Use your left hand to pull the whip straight up toward the sky. (Your whip is now in your left hand and the two reins are in your right hand.)

6. Separate your reins so you have one in each hand.

You've now switched your dressage whip without twisting the bit in your horse's mouth or scaring him by pulling it up across his withers.

A Happy Horse

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Comment by Lori on March 28, 2009 at 1:50pm
Switching the whip has always bothered me because as you point out it disturbs the contact.
I will try this for sure.
I am not completely clear on how to separate the reins but as I practice I'm sure it will work out.
thanks for all your tips.
Comment by Janet B on November 29, 2008 at 5:29pm
Thanks , i have done this before without taking the reins in one hand; i will try it your way!

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