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Help - use of riding crop on pony's butt in show ring

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  • Help - use of riding crop on pony's butt in show ring

    It has always been my understanding that reaching back and hitting the pony's butt with a crop in the show ring is frowned upon and supposed to be marked down. I understand that tapping on the neck might be excusable although not really acceptable. I am not talking about outside the ingate but actually after going in the ring.

    Okay pony peeps and judges....chime in please

  • #2
    Any obvious use of the stick in the show ring gets a score of 50 from me.

    It means you're trying to train the animal, not win the class.


    • #3
      I'm guessing if kid needs to give pony a wail on the kiester its likely they arent having the best round as it is.
      I certainly don't see any judges making a public scene b/c the rider was being proactive in correcting bad pony behavior.
      IE:If rider has an emotional temper tantrum because they 'made a wish ' 3 strides out and pony did a drive by and rider takes it out on the pony they are likely to be excused by the steward.

      However if said pony has already had a stop or a buck your probably out of the ribbons anyway, may as well make use of your money in the class and put some mileage on said pony. In hopes that you have made an impression on pony that horse show does not mean we can misbehave w/o consequence. I believe the "peta' rule is no more than 3 swats per incident.

      I'm not one to reprimand a pony for spooking. IMO if they are already legit. scared of something doesnt usually make them less spooked about
      the object in question. those are a do the best you can try to ride through and ignore it, if that doesnt work your out of the ribbons anyway, may as well introduce the pony to whatver pony eating object has caught its attention and try to reinforce it's confidence and bravery. ( shrug.. thats just MO; i'm sure others will disagree)
      If your not being a good example than you'll just have to be a horrible warning. =o)
      breeders of quality tb's and welsh ponies.


      • #4
        What would be the point of carrying a crop if you can't use it?



        • #5
          Originally posted by mpsbarnmanager View Post
          What would be the point of carrying a crop if you can't use it?
          Well, a few reasons. For some, they only need to carry it. The horse/pony knows you have it. For others, it's just part of the "outfit". My jumper goes in an ear-bonnet just because and I carry my show bat in the jumpers, just because -- not out of any real need. I have never really needed to use it. Sometimes, it's a mental thing "I am carrying this crop, so I will definitely be able to get around." And some trainers really do insist everyone carries one. I have always been taught swat them once just as you walk in on the off side from the judge and don't do it again in the ring. If the round goes badly and you need to basically turn it into a schooling trip anyway, swat only behind the leg and not excessively -- you want to get the job done for mileage, not get into a battle royale and create a scene.


          • #6
            I echo MHM... a stick should be carried if you think it will help with training, but if you have to use it you shouldn't expect the horse/pony to score the same as a comparable round that didn't need it.

            As for where to use it... I never want to see someone use a stick on the neck OR on the butt. To me, it's to be used only behind the rider's leg, which is the aid it is intended to amplify.
            Patience pays.


            • #7
              I thought it was only acceptable to hit the horse behind the leg? I have a memory of someone telling me that the justification was "if you're going to use the tool, use it once and use it meaninfully". What I took them to mean was that using the crop on the neck was ineffective and/or meaningless, and thus was actually less kind to the horse than a single swift use behind the leg.

              Kind of like nagging someone gently versus just coming out and saying what you mean.


              • #8
                behind the leg is often confused and thought of as anywhere behind the leg (including the butt), but what is meant is the correct place to use the whip is "in front of the flank and behind the leg".


                • #9
                  Originally posted by donkeyman View Post
                  I understand that tapping on the neck might be excusable although not really acceptable.
                  Neither a pony peep nor a judge, but using the crop on the neck is never acceptable. Butt is better than neck...although proper use of crop is behind the leg. .

                  Using a crop at all in the show ring usually means you're out of contention unless everyone else is pretty bad too.
                  Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                  Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                  • #10
                    Are we talking little short stirrup riders on ponies or big rated pony hunters? If short stirrup riders, then usually it is frowned upon but I think a lot of the little kids struggle with that kind of coordination (basically they meant to tap behind the leg but ended up tapping the hind end). If it is the rated pony hunters, I would expect them to only tap behind the leg if necessary. But honestly in the bigger classes, most pony riders are more than capable of riding properly with spurs, so you won't see much tapping with the whip anyways. Also, I think the hind end is always more appropriate than the neck regardless.


                    • #11
                      I agree with most of what has been said. However, if the horse is not listening to your leg and it means the difference between chipping and adding in every line and having a good round, I tell my riders to go ahead and use it. Yes, it is penalized, but if you absolutley need the stick or a good kick in the belly before you go to the first fence to have a good round I prefer that to sitting like a bump on a log and not doing anything.


                      • #12
                        I HATE to see the crop used in front of the leg (neck, shoulder) although I will confess to "tickling" a dead greenie who is bulging a shoulder instead of steering. To be absolutely clear, I'm talking about a horse I am breaking, not one that is ready to show.

                        I don't think I can really recall ever seeing anyone use the crop behind the flank. Seems like a good way to get one to buck, IMHO.

                        I echo "use it once, behind the leg, to reinforce your aid."

                        For the person who asked why bother carrying a crop if you aren't going to use it, I ride a horse who will buck if you do NOT carry a crop. He straightens up if you carry it. If he's getting pushy, all I have to do is cock it out slightly so it's in his line of sight, and he straightens up like a Catholic schoolboy when he sees the ruler!
                        Life would be infinitely better if pinatas suddenly appeared throughout the day.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Sing Mia Song View Post
                          For the person who asked why bother carrying a crop if you aren't going to use it, I ride a horse who will buck if you do NOT carry a crop. He straightens up if you carry it. If he's getting pushy, all I have to do is cock it out slightly so it's in his line of sight, and he straightens up like a Catholic schoolboy when he sees the ruler!
                          Mine doesn't buck, but if you don't have it he will ignore you. When I first bought him, I couldn't carry one at all because he'd scoot and get all squirrelly. Now that he trusts me with it, I just have to flick it at him. If he ignores the flick, I wave it and off he goes. I rarely ever have to actually use it.
                          Keith: "Now...let's do something normal fathers and daughters do."
                          Veronica: "Buy me a pony?"


                          • #14
                            Depends what you mean by "marked down?"

                            Sure, I would mark it down...

                            But what am I comparing this performance to?

                            If I see something WORSE, the entry that used the stick would need to be ranked higher.

                            I'm in the camp that dislikes the tap on the shoulder--it is a poor technique to teach or to use, IMO.
                            Inner Bay Equestrian


                            • #15
                              I've always learned that anywhere in front of the leg is unacceptable and will definately lose points with the judge. I've also heard that they can excuse you for using a stick on the shoulder per USEF rules? But I'm not sure about that. I thought it was fine to crop behind the leg or on the rump. I don't generally carry a stick, but I've seen that a lot of people crop behind the leg if a horse is looking at a jump, just as an extra aid, and the stick is usually used on the rump as a disciplinary aid for a nasty stop or something.


                              • #16
                                A stick is not generally used on the rump--doing so would unbalance the rider, for one thing and for another, the stick is used as a correction to a disobedience to the rider's driving aids (legs) and so should most correctly be used in the area directly behind the rider's leg.

                                It is incorrect to use it on the shoulder and judges are free to penalize (mostly children) who have been taught this technique and use it in the show ring.

                                Per USEF rules, the wording has been modified somewhat, and the wording changed from prohibiting use of the stick in front of the saddle (which required judges to eliminate the kids described above) to other language that is more specific about the head, face, and poll, and 'emergency situations' that I presume include rearing.
                                Inner Bay Equestrian


                                • #17
                                  Proper use of the crop is on the flank behind the leg, in front of the hindquarters. Any other place is incorrect.

                                  I feel that use of the crop is a schooling/training aid only. Spurs are another training aid which you can effectively and discreetly use while in the ring without penalty. The crop is not. I would recommend it be used in the schooling area to remind the horse to listen to aids, and to be carried in hand for horse to be aware of its presence, but would say that if used in the ring in the hunters, it would demonstrate a disobedience of horse to rider's leg, and in the equitation, would demonstrate rider's ineffeciveness of ride and removing hand from reins. Either would be grounds for penalty.

                                  There are times where you go to the ring strictly to school and for mileage, and do not care about ribbons (perhaps with a green one that falls behind your leg or has reluctant lead changes). There are times you go in to win, and a horse has a disobedience (ie. stop at a fence), which causes your goal to immediately change from winning to instead correcting and completing a schooling round to set yourself up for better success the next time. Those would be times to go to the stick.

                                  Is use of the stick to be penalized in the ring? Yes. However, if a rider reaches back with the stick to school a change or as encouragement to a scary jump and the pair has a flawlessm rhythmical round as a result...and another rider goes without a stick and her horse is constantly falling behind her leg, leaving long, chipping and pace change all over the place, it is clear that the first rider even with penalty of the stick would still outscore the 2nd.