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whips and wind

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  • whips and wind

    Last Friday I wrote that I need a better-balanced whip, and got lots of good suggestions. Today I have clarified the problem in my mind. I drove on the road for quite a while today, without tiring. Then we drove figures of eight on the level field, and I realized that it was the wind that was wearing my arm out. As we came about into a particular quarter the southerly wind grabbed the end of the 100 cm whip and played with it like an enthusiastic kitten.

    I imagine you're just going to tell me to develop my arm muscles, and I'm on it. But if there are other suggestions, please let me know!

    Thanks and happy driving on this bright day before more weather moves in!

    Dale

  • #2
    I'm thinking that rather than needing to develop muscles, that you're most likely holding your arm in an incorrect (and hence uncomfortable) position.

    Furthermore you use your whip occassionally and when its not in use it should be in the whip holder or else held in a comfortable neutral position.

    If you're not sure how that is then shown here:

    Comment


    • #3
      Dale, I can't hold up a driving whip for long periods of time unless it's very lightweight. I've been a big fan of the Ultralite whips for that reason and I own several of them: http://www.ultralitewhips.com/ You might find these whips kinder to your wrists and forearms, even on a windy day. They are very lightweight.

      Unfortunately for me, the Haflinger Brothers have learned to scoff at the touch of an Ultralite whip, as in "What was that? A gnat bite?" and go on their merry way. So I've had to go back to a whip that is both longer and heavier in weight. Bob Giles brought one back for me from one of the National Drive vendors that I think I'm going to like in the long run, as soon as I build up those ligaments and muscles to support the $^&# thing. It definitely carries more authority with the boys. It's also purple but that's another story.

      I have no doubt that Sparrow is more sensitive than my two goofballs and that the Ultralite whip might be very good for you. In the meantime, stay out of the wind!

      Drive on

      Karen

      Comment


      • #4
        P.S.

        Thomas is correct- unless it's in use, the whip should always be behind the dash and carried at about 45 degrees, as shown in Thomas' photo. As Bob likes to say "You're not fishing with the thing..."

        Comment


        • #5
          Again, the COTH offers a timely discussion. At the Tampa Trials this weekend, a couple of us were looking at whips at Harvey's Trailer. I have two whips--one 6 ft with a short lash (6 inch) and another with a longer lash-white for Pleasure Shows. But the lash is always getting tangled. It is soft material. Both whips are well balanced. Anyway another competitor was telling me I was holding the whip wrong. I had my hand so that my thumb was maybe an inch below the top of the hand grip and my hand in the middle of the hand grip. She told me I should hold the whip above the hand grip about 2 inches. I did and the whip felt off balance to me. We asked a local trainer and he confirmed my hold but that the thumb should be on the top of the hand grip.

          So experienced souls, what is the correct hand hold on a whip?

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Cartfall View Post
            We asked a local trainer and he confirmed my hold but that the thumb should be on the top of the hand grip.
            That's about how I hold mine with the thumb either just on top of or slightly below the grip. I can't imagine holding the whip above the hand grip intentionally. Any time my hand slips above the hand grip I'm aware of it and it feels very unbalanced, like the whole thing is about to slide out of my grasp. The hand grip is there to be, well, GRIPPED, isn't it?

            Comment

            • Original Poster

              #7
              Thanks, all! I do make an effort to carry the thing correctly, at the correct angle and in a comfortable neutral position when not in use (mostly for asking for bend). For me, that has meant letting the whip slide down a little so that it balances upward against my lower arm. Thomas, are you resting the middle of the whip on the inner elbow of your rein arm in that photo, or is that an illusion?

              My hand is actually aching at the moment from struggling against the wind today. We were driving figures of eight, and that meant that the top of the whip was being -- well, whipped around -- in a continually changing direction.

              Hey, Karen, my favorite longe whip is purple, and it never, ever gets lost (and no-one steals it!) But it tickles me that that's the color Bob chose for you!

              Dale

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MySparrow View Post
                Thomas, are you resting the middle of the whip on the inner elbow of your rein arm in that photo, or is that an illusion?
                I never rest my whip on my arm. So must be photo perspective. When I've driven multiples for a long time then I do sometimes (lazily) rest the grip end on my leg (but that's when I need the whip available and its been hours of driving)

                I've found some more photos so you might be able to better see how and where its held. (sorry there's a few but they are just snaps and not really to show whip handling! But hopefully you'll see all angles from them)













                When you hold a whip its ordinarily just above the hand grip and I think you'll see that in these photos. You then adjust your hold as you use the whip. This photo shows indicating direction at a cross roads.



                For those interested in whips, the ones in these photos are all traditional and original English Holly whips furnished in silver or pewter. Beautifully balanced. But I do use modern whips always for everyday driving ..... but I tend not to have a photographer taking and giving me snaps on those occasions Though this snap is a modern pairs whip:


                You need to ensure you have a well balanced whip and if you just rest it between your thumb and forefinger it should balance perfectly at the fulcrum and just above where the grip is (about 2" or so ordinarily). That's where you hold it. So when you find that point then close your hand to hold it. If you hold it somewhere where its not on the point of balance then this would mean you are holding weight and its harder work than it need be.

                My hand is actually aching at the moment from struggling against the wind today. We were driving figures of eight, and that meant that the top of the whip was being -- well, whipped around -- in a continually changing direction.
                I'm absolutely certain its because you're not holding it at the point of balance. Trust me, I drive a lot and a teams and tandems whip is a heck of a lot longer than a singles whip but if you hold it at the point of balance, then there's absolutely no weight in it and even in high wind if you hold it low across your body as you'll see in my photos, the wind doesn't catch it and whip it away.

                Its also going to be important how you hold your whip in relation to your reins - so again a range of photos so you can see. But if you're hanging on to a rein with weight and also holding a whip not at the point of balance then you're potentially going to have a lot of weight there and hence need muscles! But trust me, you don't need arms like an all in wrestler to drive even 4 horses and hold a teams whip, so definitely not for a single pony and a short singles whip.

                Hey, Karen, my favorite longe whip is purple, and it never, ever gets lost (and no-one steals it!)
                That is SOOOO wrong! You only said that to upset me didn't you!

                Dale, if you want to send me a photo showing me how you hold the whip (email if you don't want public display), I'd be happy to try to give you a lesson over cyberspace.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Purple whips

                  I am the proud owner of a burgundy Ultralite (I may do purple with the next one) and a pink(!) lunge whip. That baby never gets lost, either.

                  Kathleen
                  Dixies mom

                  Comment

                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Thomas_1 View Post
                    That is SOOOO wrong! You only said that to upset me didn't you!

                    Dale, if you want to send me a photo showing me how you hold the whip (email if you don't want public display), I'd be happy to try to give you a lesson over cyberspace.

                    Thomas, I don't know if you noticed the thread on off-course about putting bling on helmets. I referred the young ladies to you as the resident expert. I thought you could give them advice as to pattern, color and suitable restraint. Did you catch it?

                    I shall try to get someone to take a picture of me. May have to get a horse to do it -- there's seldom anyone else around. Let's see, I need a crown-piece cam to mount facing backwards on Sparrow's head.

                    I wonder if I can get one with bling?

                    Thanks for your kind help!

                    Dale

                    Comment

                    • Original Poster

                      #11
                      Originally posted by Dixie's Mom View Post
                      I am the proud owner of a burgundy Ultralite (I may do purple with the next one) and a pink(!) lunge whip. That baby never gets lost, either.

                      Kathleen
                      Dixies mom
                      Wow, a pink lunge whip. I'm jealous.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Whip grip news

                        I discovered today that my new purple driving whip is 170 cm long. It's made by the Dobert company. I think they're German. What I thought Mr. Giles would be bringing me back from the National Drive was a black Olaf Nyby whip. Close, but no cigar, as they say! This whip is considerably longer than any other I've used and it's definitely heavier. After using it for a month, I find I'm getting used to it and liking it more and more (except for the purple part. I could have peacefully co-existed with dark purple but this whip is *lavender*). I might add that I paid $90 for it, which is more than I've ever paid for a driving whip. Purple or not, this whip is going to be with me for awhile.

                        Anyway, after the discussion and photos here I thought I was pretty sure that I drive with my hand squarely on the wrapped grip portion of the whip. Well, I hitched my pair today, picked up the whip as usual, headed down the road and and then noticed for the first time that I was holding THIS whip above the grip portion. Clearly, it being heavier and longer than what I was used to, I unconsciously did what I needed to do to keep it balanced in my hand. I'm now thinking that the uncomfortable, aching hand that I experienced when first driving with this whip has improved NOT because my hand has gotten stronger but because I made the necessary adjustment and started holding the whip up higher on the shaft. I just found that extremely interesting. It's something I might not have thought about if the topic hadn't come up here. The things we learn on the Driving Forum!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So, Thomas, if I hold the whip on the grip--I am holding it too low. Intersting--why would they put a grip on a whip if one does not hold it there?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Sue, This is the point I was trying to make in the above post. Where I hold the whip depends upon the length and weight of the whip. I thought I always held it on the grip but my new longer, heavier whip has me holding it above the grip in order to balance it. In other words, I don't think there is a 'one size fits all' place to hold the whip. Some are driving minis with correspondingly shorter, lighter whips, some are driving big horses, using much longer, heavier whips. And then there's everybody in between.

                            Thomas will probably have a better description but I'm finding it to be pretty simple. Try experimenting with a variety of different whips and see if you don't find yourself automatically holding the whip in different places, as needed, to balance it in your hand.

                            Karen

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              The length of your whip is determined by which combination you are driving. With a singles whip being the shortest and a tandem or team whip longer.

                              You always hold a whip at the fulcrum (point of balance) when its in the neutral position and my earlier posting explained how you ascertain where that is and you adjust your hold appropriately as you make your signals or use it.

                              Don't you guys have instruction in use of the whip as part of learning to drive?

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Thomas, speaking for myself, I've received quite a bit of instruction in how to properly use the driving whip as one of the aids. It's so built into the way I drive that I can't drive very effectively without a whip in my hand. It would be like riding without using my leg aids- possible to do but not with much refinement. However, I often meet people who either don't carry a whip or they leave it in the whip socket while they drive. Or they carry it in their hand because they know they're supposed to but they have no clue how to use it properly. So I think the answer to your question on whether or not 'us guys' receive instruction on using a driving whip depends on who you talk to. It's a big and not very homogeneous country here!

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by RidesAHaflinger View Post
                                  So I think the answer to your question on whether or not 'us guys' receive instruction on using a driving whip depends on who you talk to. It's a big and not very homogeneous country here!
                                  When I said "you guys", I meant the ones who'd posted here.

                                  Comment

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