This morning at the stables we were discussing whips. Or crops, as some of us call them. Others refer to them as sticks…
And one of my friends, who shall remain nameless, was talking about how she almost never uses the crop on a horse. [She’s a fine, fine horsewoman…]
In general, she brings the thing hard down on her leg which is encased in a half-chap, hitting her boot. Because it’s the sound of the whip as much as anything which says to the horse, “Oi! Pay attention, will you?”
But of course, there’s always the time when one smacks one’s leg very hard and, er, oops, the chaps somehow remained at home that day. And crikey does that sucker sting. And yes, it can leave a welt.
I should mention that horses have thicker skins than ours. But in general, my point is, we don’t whip or hit our horses very much.
It’s counterproductive for one thing. If you smack them every time they do something a little naughty or are a bit dozy, then they become inured, and you have nothing on which to fall back when they’re really acting up. And they think you’re a prat and so won’t hesitate to chuck you off.
It’s all a delicate balance. Plus, we generally like them.
So, if you’re thinking that the ordinary rider uses the crop as much as you might see a jockey riding the flats do, forget it. We don’t. We just don’t.