Opinions on Hitting a Horse While Riding - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 44 Old 07-12-2010, 09:29 PM Thread Starter
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Opinions on Hitting a Horse While Riding

So, most of the time during the summer, I'll carry a crop when I ride because it encourages my lazy boy to pick up the pace a bit. I rarely have to use it, just carrying it is good enough most of the time. But then there are those days when he's just being a brat, and I'll have to smack his shoulder to get him to pay attention to me. Now, of course I go through every leg aid possible, and progressively move harsher. It's not like I'm savagely attacking him, but you know what, if he's putting my in a dangerous place (aka: rearing, bucking, spinning around, all that silly stuff) I will scold him. I know that just riding a horse itself is dangerous, but when he acts up, I've got to do something about it.

Also, there is this one girl who I ride with sometimes, and she ADORES her horse. You can see her eyes light up when she walks into the barn and sees her horse's head poking out of her stall. But when she rides, sometimes I'll see her whacking her horse behind her leg and just continually doing this until the horse "listens". The horse is happy as any other in it's stall AND while being ridden, it's just that sometimes the girl excessively uses the crops, which I disapprove of.

Anyways, what are your opinions on using crops/whips while riding?
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post #2 of 44 Old 07-12-2010, 09:39 PM
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Using a crop is sometimes a necessary aide. I do not agree with excessive use but as a reinforcement to an aide it is absolutely an acceptable thing. Depending on the issue I would usually say to use the crop behind your leg so that it reinforces your leg. When you smack your horse on the shoulder it is probably more of an annoyance to him then anything else rather then getting his attention and asking him to move forward. It is better for you to make your point by giving him a decent smack with the crop behind your leg and being done with it then to keep tapping him with the crop. Just my opinion from all the experiences I have had and I have been riding for almost 20 years.
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post #3 of 44 Old 07-12-2010, 09:41 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, I agree with non-excessive use. But I can't use it behind my leg because my boy was abused and neglected, so he is really sensitive to it behind his leg and will usually take off if he sees me picking the crop up to go behind my leg. Plus, I have found that a few light taps on the shoulder is all it takes with him. I guess it depends on the horse?
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post #4 of 44 Old 07-12-2010, 09:43 PM
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I think it depends. I personally don't carry a crop as my horse is very well trained and listens well. She has never bucked or reared in her life. I got her three months ago and every horse however will test a new rider in some way. I was riding her on the road and after a while she started to try to turn to go back home. I applied my seat and leg aids and she kept turning for home. Nothing dangerous or bolting - just testing me. So I took the end of one rein (I have long split reins) and smacked her on the rump with it at the same time as applying firmly my other aids and saying, "Lets go." She instantly obeyed and was an angel the rest of the ride. She just wanted to know if I knew what I was doing!

I don't think it is wrong - it is how you use it. It is not ok to whip your horse hard or smack them in anger. But a light pop on the withers or haunches to get them to listen is usually fine in my books.
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post #5 of 44 Old 07-12-2010, 09:47 PM Thread Starter
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I agree. And in the winter/spring, I don't ride with one, he's just so happy then because it's cooler! In the summer months, he gets grumpy though. lol.
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post #6 of 44 Old 07-12-2010, 09:49 PM
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have you tried riding with a small spur that way it can reinforce your leg if your leg isn't doing the job and you wouldn't have to worry about the crop?
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post #7 of 44 Old 07-12-2010, 09:49 PM
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I ride with spurs, rarely a whip though. spurs are just an extension of my leg aid, so i dont have to move my leg so much to get my heel to the horse. BUT if i ask for her to respond to the aid, and she ignores it, i will put my leg on more, and keep bumping my leg against her, but if she doesnt listen i will spur her, no doubt.

I have no problem with using the whip or spurs... as long as it is not out of anger, because anger makes the normal person do things they would never dream of doing if they werent angry.

I do as less as i can to get the result i want.

If there are no horses in heaven... im not going.
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post #8 of 44 Old 07-12-2010, 10:35 PM
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I don't like riding with whips if I can help it - Too much to hold and I always drop them! I've only ridden with a whip once in about 8 years and that was on a mare who was putting it over her young rider and we had a little battle of the wills.

Apart from that, no I don't like using whips. I like spurs, and I usually ride with long split reins so if needed I can use the end of my rein to pop them.

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post #9 of 44 Old 07-13-2010, 02:08 AM
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A crop isn't meant to hurt the horse and this is why you use it in appropriate locations. It's a cue and an aid, not actually "hitting" or harming them in any way.

Excessive proper use of a crop isn't abusive, imho, it's just not very smart. The more you over-use aids like that the more hard and resistant the horse will be to lighter cues and commands. If you always go for the crop right away, how will the horse learn to respond to softer commands?

A horse can tell if you are using it inappropriately and smacking them out of frustration and anger and obviously using it in the wrong context or on the wrong part of the horse would be a bad thing.

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post #10 of 44 Old 07-13-2010, 02:48 AM
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I don't think it is bad to use a whip to correct naughty behaviour or to give a stringer aid if they aren't responding to just your leg. I always carry one but use it rarely and mainly just to 'wake my horse up', to get her more alert. I think the little girl you mentioned has learnt to rely on her whip a little bit too much instead of her leg, seat and voice. I think that is quite common in kids if they are allowed to have a whip, it is easier to give a smack than to use your own leg muscles.

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