Old thread, but I'll weight in. I have a "carrot stick" (in my favorite yellow color) I got for $8 at the MD Expo. Just as good as $30 CA/PP/whoever stick. And yes, you can make one yourself too. It's just right length and sturdy (as already mentioned dressage whips and alike have too much movement in them), so it's very convenient when I have to tap my paint's butt while loading her in a trailer (I don't use it for anything else really, and I removed the string right after I bought it).