Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer Content

Riding Whips & Crops

A riding crop or dressage whip acts as a supplemental aid for a rider to use to encourage a horse to go forward, sideways, offer increased engagement and similar intentions. Light taps on a horse’s hindquarters, barrel or occasionally a shoulder are not intended as punishment, but rather to support the aids that a rider executes with his or her legs, seat and weight as necessary.

Page 1 of 1

In hunter, jumper, cross-country and pleasure disciplines, a riding crop, jumper bat or show bat is commonly carried. Crops range in length from about 21" long to about 25" long, with a few exceptions. They generally feature a small wrist loop at the handle and a fairly narrow popper at the opposite end. The handle of a crop can be covered in genuine leather, a synthetic material, rubber or plastic and is always fairly narrow in circumference.

Jumper or show bats come in lengths that start at a shorter measurement than crops, about 18" long, and go up in size to 26" long, with a few exceptions. The handles are made in a variety of patterns, shapes, widths and materials designed to provide superior grip; no wrist loop is attached. The tip of a bat is finished with a wide popper intended to make as much of a noise as it does a tap. The popper can be made of genuine or synthetic leather.

The shafts, made of fiberglass, plastic or other materials, in both crops and bats are covered in durable, woven material. Shaft colors range from brown and black (conservative enough for competition) to bright, pastel, sparkly or multi-dimensional hues to make schooling and lessons extra fun.

The cost of a bat or riding crop will depend on the materials and craftsmanship that go into its construction. A leather-covered show bat will be more costly than a glittery crop with a plastic handle. To choose the desired length of a crop or bat, consider the size of the rider and the size of the horse. A small rider on a pony will be most comfortable holding a shorter, lighter crop. He or she will have no need for extra length to reach the hindquarters of the pony. An adult on a sizable warmblood will likely appreciate the reach of a longer crop.

More than twice as long as any crop or bat, the typical dressage whip measures either 43 1/2" or 47 1/2" long, although some can be found at 36" and 39" long to suit small riders or small horses. A dressage whip is meant to hang down just behind the rider’s leg and to be used with light taps. To this end, it usually offers some degree of flexibility in the shaft, which can be made of an engineered composite material, fiberglass or plastic. Just as in crops and bats, the shafts are covered in an abrasion-resistant material that can range in color from black (for competition) to light pink and sparkly for added schooling fun.

The long handle of a dressage whip can be made of braided leather, a grippy synthetic, composite materials or even a gel—all designed to provide good hold. The handle, often topped by some sort of cap, can be a classic shape or formed ergonomically to fit a hand. The tip of a dressage whip is called a lash, and it is designed to facilitate a light tap or a tickle. The lash is factored into the overall whip measurement—an important factor to consider if a rider intends to compete within USEF rules. The cost of a dressage whip depends on the materials and craftsmanship involved in its design and fabrication.

Dover Saddlery is pleased to offer riding crops, bats and dressage whips from all the most popular manufacturers, including Fleck ®, Wonder Whip , County ™, Roma ® and more. Custom options are available, too!