Should kids be given whips?

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Should kids be given whips?

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    09-19-2009, 03:59 AM
Should kids be given whips?

My friends daughter is about 7, and has been riding on and off on her welsh mountain pony? For about 2 years. Recently, they sold the pony and got her her very first horse (australian stock horse I think)

I noticed she had uploaded some pictures of her daughter on this new horse so I went to have a look. I was very disappointed to see her daughter using a whip. Yes her daughter has been riding for quite some time, so some would say she is experienced enough to use one, but she still needs to learn more control of the horse (they were in their roundyard) keeping heels down, general position etc.

Shouldn't kids be learning to get the horse moving with aids and use of their legs before giving them the easy way out with a whip? Its not like her horse is a lazy old lesson horse, but he's not exactly very go go go either. I just thought it was silly for her daughter to learn to forget all these aids when theirs a handy little stick at her side that does it all for her.

What are your opinions?
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    09-19-2009, 06:59 AM
Green Broke
I use a whip, well I really carry a whip on Chinga. It depends, if she "uses" the whip instead of the leg aid then I disagree with her having a whip. But if she uses it to "wake the horse up" then I think its fine that she uses a whip. What I mean by "wake the horse up" is if the horse is being "lazy" then she gives the horse a small tap on the sholder. Or even if she gets the whip out when the horse is being lazy.
    09-19-2009, 07:04 AM
If she is relying on the whip then I would say take it off her and make her use those legs lol
    09-19-2009, 07:44 AM
Most childrens riding ponies/horses are intended to be a bit dull and sluggish, combined with small seven year old legs, there may be a reason for carrying a crop. Most people don't realize that crops have varying degrees of ouchyness, and a big fat ended riding bat is really only a noise maker that creates a big whap sound with very little pain involved. While the long thin dressage whips which make very little noise actually create much more pain with less force. I agree that leg muscles should be strengthened, but some exercises that create that strong leg require the horse to be moving, and hopefully trotting. A crop is much better to hand a child than spurs, because it is very obvious to a supervising adult whether the child is using it appropriately and not inadvertantly like a swinging leg with a spur on it. I feel you are a purist who feels that no crop/spur is the best route, but most 7 year olds can't get their leg around the barrel of a wide pony/horse and a crop can be the only alternative to just walking. If you have any opinion in the matter that will be taken into account, perhaps suggesting bareback trotting lessons, to both strenghthen leg muscles and also allow enough contact for the horse to feel the pipsqueak. I can't tell whether they are ridding english or western, but I find western saddles don't allow for the kind of leg contact I prefer with a horse. Also, the whip could be there to conteract disobidience, not just make the horse forward. A crop can be a very useful training aid, as long as one remembers to try to not use it. It is important to check and see if we have actually sensitized our horse to our leg, using a crop as reinforcement, and not rely on a stronger aid completely. It is also better to use a crop once strongly than lightly over and over again, typically it just teaches the horse to completely ignore it the same way it has your leg.
    09-19-2009, 09:30 AM
Thanks troubled tb, I understand the use of crops, I use them on lessons horses, whom with which it wodl be almost impossible to have a lesson without a crop lol. But the fact is her horse is only 7 years old, and not exactly, old, experienced and lazy. I just feel like the horse is eventually goign to ignore all her leg aids (and become liek a non-responsive lesson horse) when she is at an age when she can use them because he is still quite young and inexperienced.

I suppose yes it is required if she wanst to get the horse going, but wouldnt it be more sutiable then if she didnt have the whip and was on a lunge line instead?

I mean, I guess I can't really tell from picutres how much she is using it I probabyl shouldnt be making so many judgements. I just thought it would be an interesting topic
    09-19-2009, 10:11 AM
I agree with you and your further info helped clarify your stance. Yes, the lunge line is the better alternative, but unfortunately people don't always want to do what would be best for both kid and horse, and if you ever heard the moan of a child when you whip out the lunge line again, you might see some of the dilemma. I didn't know the horse was so young, and your right, it is probably the pepiest it will be, so that might indicate weak rider aids relying on a crop, but yet again, there are lazy seven year old horses too. Perhaps it could also just be the childs temprament that creates a mellow horse? Even at that age, you can kind of determine how you are going to affect your horse, either lighting up or quieting down, and some people just do that to every horse they ride. Also, having a kicker isn't always a bad thing, but I do understand the downside of a horse that is constantly ridden behind the leg. That can be dangerous and lead to a horse that ignores you when you actually need them to listen to you, like over a fence, crossing a stream, etc.
I do agree it's an interesting topic, but to answer your original question in general I would have to say, yes, it is appropriate to hand a child a fat ended bat in the event of a lesson horse/dull horse situation, while being supervised, but never without an educated adult teaching the child how to create a horse that can be ridden without a crop for most situations (some situations may always demand a crop with some horses), but advancement through lunging lessons, and learning to use all aids in a balanced manner should take precidence.
Now, if you could maybe give me advice on my situation! What do you do when advising someone to use a crop on a half dead lesson horse and they merely lift it, which enticies the horse to trot a step or two and resume walking. They never follow through with the one good whack that would get the horse taking them seriously and it ends up being a monotony of walk, threaten, trot two steps, walk! Unfortunately, or maybe not, I am faced with people who don't ever assert themselves, and therefore the horse talks them into mostly walking. Which is more desensitizing in your opinion? Someone who goes overboard or underboard? Obviously extremely overboard is abusive, but still how can you desensitize a horse to a whallop? I am not trying to say whalloping a horse over and over again is suitable to make a horse trot, canter, jump, but I am finding that the lack of follow through with the crop is causing desensitization, not the hitting itself. So I suppose I am pondering what the concern might be, is it that the child will hit the horse to much or to little? This is again a fat ended bat, half dead horse, with a rider who just wants the horse to agree to the lessons agenda, not the horses, but wont ever insist. Even when I ride him with my strong leg and tiny (I mean nubbins, the smallest you can probably get) spur, I find it much more effective to tap two or three times in quick succession and then ask for the response I want, essentially getting the horse in front of my leg. After that I have little to no need for the crop to make him w/t/c and transition nicely and cleanly. I am sorry to try and ask a question in the middle of your post, but I think that is why I was drawn to it in the first place and you really made me ponder my situation. I guess there is always the human dilemma of to hit or not, and obviously I can't say never, but I try to follow a rule of once so I don't have to again, and I have never had an issue with the multitude of horses I ride/rode/work with showing signs of trauma or fear of me later.
    09-19-2009, 10:27 AM
BTW I disagree entirely with using the crop on the shoulder for two reasons, One: if all of a horses training is based in moving away from pressure, then tapping on the shoulder would indicate the horse should move sideways or backwards to evade the crop. Where as a tap delivered behind the leg is a clear cue that the horse must move forward to escape the pressure. Two: I feel it is a bad habit started by its easiness and if you don't have the dexterity to bridge your reins, deliver a tap on the haunches, and regather your reins, then you are not prepared to use a crop at all. I suppose that is where I would create a line to decide if a child was ready for a crop, or an adult for that matter.
    09-19-2009, 11:34 AM
I think it really depends on the kid and the horse. Many times, the whip is used to replace the other cues. However, my nephew has a crop that he uses sometimes on his horse. He is just now 7 and only recently have his legs grown enough to really reach down past the saddle pad on each side. My brother doesn't teach his horses a vocal forward cue, he only uses his legs so Braden had a lot of trouble getting Zippo to move (he is kind of a plug anyway). So Brother gave him a little crop to bump Zippo on the side with to get him going. It took forever to convince Braden that just thumping Zip with the crop wouldn't hurt him but he was still reluctant to use it. Now his legs are longer so he doesn't need the crop anymore.
    09-19-2009, 10:18 PM
Thanks for your input guys, TB you make some very good points. I can see your point that having a whip is a good incentive to get the horse to listen to you, instead of opting to kick and batter them up from behind several times. I myself have used spurs on lesson horse (also very small) and I find that once I take them off after 5 minutes or so, the horse is listening to me just as well as when I had the spurs.

To answer your question, at my riding school, the horses are never allowed to not continue with the task they are asked, I.e if the horse is asked to trot, and after much effort does trot but only a little way, then he is told to go again until he keeps going. This is obviously very irritating and tiring for little riders and that extra effort is usually accomplished with help from their instructor with one of those whips that never hits the horse, but kinda trails along the ground and flicks at them.

In my opinion, a horse can be equally desensitized to either one. You should see some of the horses at the riding school, they are definitely desensitized to a wallop to some degree, but they are also desensitized to the random kicks and movements of the child’s feet as they bounce around.

I have always been taught to hit once...if there is nor result hit again harder, instead of hitting with the same force over and over again.
And yes, this crop was being used on the shoulder. If the crop is used more for making a big noise than actual pain though, would those rules of moving away from it still apply.

It is an extremely bad habit, I see some many kids whenever they want to do a transition say trot to canter, they will sit trot and just smack smack smack, barely using their legs at all if any.

I suppose overall, if kids horses are also ridden by experienced, leg using adults, then they will not become desensitized to these ques, but I know that horses will put on a different attitude towards different people riding them.
    09-19-2009, 10:37 PM
I'm kind of in the middle... kind of undecided. I think it depends on the circumstances. I hate seeing young riders (or any riders) who, instead of using their 'natural' aids, use a crop right away. There was a young girl (9 years old) at the riding camp that I was a CIT at and she didn't use her legs at all- she went straight to the crop each and every time that she wanted the horse to move forwards. My friend who was teaching the group of riders, after reminding her many times to use her legs FIRST, just took the crop away finally because she was relying on it. She was basically powerless without it. To me it seems like younger riders don't really understand that crops and whips should be used to REINFORCE your aids when the horse doesn't listen, and that you shouldn't proceed straight to whapping a horse with a crop. I agree with smrobs that it depends on the circumstances.

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