Photo © Dale Plumb

Whether you are new to the world of showing or dressage, or changing discipline, it's most important to not only stay abreast of the changing fashions, but to ensure your tack measures up to and meets the regulations of your equestrian association.

How long should my whip be?

Lead Rein / First Ridden:

In Lead Rein classes, the handler holds the lead and the cane in their left hand. When the child is showing their pony in a First Ridden class, the child rider carries the whip in whichever hand is comfortable or necessary.

SHC - The cane must measure no longer than 40cm. All Royal Whips and Canes Lead Rein / First Ridden canes are made precisely to this length.

In EA Lead Rein Classes, the handler's cane must not exceed 75cm.

Ridden Show Classes:

Your cane can be any length you are most comfortable with, but please bear in mind that it should appear in proportion to rider and mount size. Upon saying that, I have made many long canes for children on ponies, and short canes for adults on hacks - it really is a very personal choice. There is no 'one size fits all' method. As a guide, a child will generally ride with a cane 55 - 60cm, and an adult 60 - 72cm, or I suggest measuring your current whip or cane and we can work together from there.  The keeper (tongue or flapper) must be present with certain societies, and must be made to their precise dimensions. Dressage flickers or turnout style canes with no keeper are unacceptable in SHC and EA ridden events, and may result in disqualification.

SHC - Maximum length of 72cm including keeper

EA - Maximum length of 75cm including keeper

RASA - Maximum length of 77cm

Pony Club - Maximum length of 75cm with or without keeper

Working Hunters:

SHC - Maximum length of 72cm inclusive of thong and/or lash if a hunt whip is carried

EA and RASA - Whips to be a maximum length of 75 cms

In Hand Classes:

Many people will use their hacking cane or dressage whip, generally with a maximum length of 120cm including the keeper/flicker. Please refer to your individual show society's rulings.


EA - Maximum length of 100cm for ponies, and 120cm for horses which includes the flicker

PCA - Over 95cm and not exceeding 110cm excluding tassel or flap


The Australian National Saddlehorse Association classifies whips and canes as artificial aids and therefore not acceptable in the ANSA Show Ring or in ANSA Restricted Competition. Exceptions to the rules:

  • Whips – a stock whip may be required in a Working ANSA Horse workout however this should be stated in Event Programs as to whether the class will be worked with the whip.
  • Dressage or riding whips no longer than 75 cm including tassel or flapper are appropriate for handlers or owners who deem it necessary for purposes of control only. A preference for ‘No Artificial Aids’ applies to all ANSA events; hence the whip is prohibited from being used to enhance the workout or in the ‘standing-up’ of horses.

Australian Stock Horses: 

Show Whips are permitted for Led, Hack & Dressage being no longer than 1m in length. Working or Time Trial classes are NOT to use a show whip however a Stock Whip may be carried as required.

Show hunter ASH Classes - Whips are not to exceed 75cm in length.

ASH Dressage Classes - maximum length 120cm

Turnout Classes:

The rider carries a hacking cane either plaited or of plain pigskin one third of the way down the length of the cane. The length is measured with the rider fully dressed in their attire, with the length from the crook of the elbow to the gloved middle finger tip.

References : Show Horse Council of Australasia Inc. Competition Rules 19.5.19; EA National Dressage Rules 1.1.2019; ASHS Event Rules and Regulations Handbook 1.9.2019; PCA Hand Book (Blue Book) Section 7 Gear and Uniform Regulation; ANSA Judges Panel, Selection, Validation and Guidelines; RASA ransw.com.au website

What style should my cane be?

In Australia showing is divided into 'Hacks' and 'Hunters'. The fashions flux and change, but generally the hack ring tends to have more 'bling' (think colour, crystals and diamantés) and the hunters are more workmanlike.

In the hack ring there has been a definite move away from coloured leather as opposed to the preference of our peers 10 years ago, but red, navy and metallic colours continue to be popular. Many clients will opt for crystal toppers, or crystal ferrules teamed with a plain metal knob for a more understated look. The world really is your oyster at Royal Whips and Canes - whether you have a preference for gold, silver or rose gold, we have a huge selection of toppers to suit your individual taste.

The hunter ring conforms to a more traditional style, with your whip matching your boots or tack - generally in tones of brown or black, and is most often teamed with a polished antler topper. The antler can be as an antler tip which is an ideal size for Lead Rein and Children's canes, or an antler hammer cane which, due to its size, is more appropriate for teens and adults, or we have the new antler handle whips for something different. Horse head and fox head toppers are another go-to choice, as are the metal knob canes which can take you effortlessly from the hack ring to the hunter ring. Collars and ferrules can be complemented in tones of silver, brass or bronze.

I can't see what I'm after, do you make custom canes?

Yes, absolutely. Please send a message through to our Contact Us page and we will gladly discuss your requirements and design you a beautiful bespoke piece.

What leather colour can I have?

We stock a large range of leather in our workshop, and are able to match your tack if need be. The most popular colours in the show ring are Black and Dark Havana, with Navy and Oz Nut coming in a close third and fourth. We can offer you a rainbow of colours and metallics as well.

Please Note:

  • Our Chic Canes come in Black or Dark Havana and there are no variations to this.
  • Our Contemporary and Custom Canes come in Black or Dark Havana with the option of choosing another colour at checkout.
How long is the turnaround?

As your new hacking cane is made specifically for you, not only must payment be received in full before work commences, it must be taken into consideration that whipmaking is a fine art that takes time if it is to be done to the exacting standards you expect of Royal Whips and Canes. Please allow up to 4 weeks turnaround - it cannot be made overnight. If you are urgently after a new cane, please peruse our In Stock Canes.

Payment / Part Payments and Commencement of Work
Work on your new hacking cane will not commence until full payment is made unless otherwise arranged with Royal Whips and Canes because your beautiful new hacking cane is personal to you, and we cannot on-sell a piece with your initials embossed on it.
We have many clients making weekly or fortnightly instalments in advance so this is an option.
Once full payment (including postage costs) has been accepted, you will be added to our work schedule and given an ETA.
Remember, your cane will not leave the studio until full payment has been accepted.
Postage and Handling
We will only send out our hacking canes by registered post regardless of whether it’s within Australia or abroad. We will not negotiate on this. If you’d like Express Post, we gladly offer this service, select that option when ordering. Your tracking details will be emailed to you.
We can fit up to two canes without covers in a single tube, or one cane with a cover. Each cane comes gift wrapped and each order bubble wrapped. We opt to post in mailing tubes where we can, else we use sturdy cardboard to ship to you.
As an effort to be as environmentally aware as we can, we will often re-use bubble wrap, cardboard and other packaging. This can be recycled at your local shopping centre plastics bin, or in your recycling bin depending upon your local area council. Your cardboard tube (if you don't keep it to store your cane) can also be recycled, along with the wrapping.
Are your whips ‘bendy’/’flexy’/’whacky’/’whippy’/’flicky’?
We get asked this question a lot. All of our whips are plaited on a fibreglass core and have a degree of flexibility to them. The longer the cane length the more ‘bendy’ it becomes (think of a dressage whip - it’s quite ‘bendy’ due to its length), but structurally they are quite strong due to the nature of the construction.
Will my hacking cane survive being used as a whip?
Yet another question we get asked a lot in various forms. We do not advocate violence against any animals, especially horses.
Used with due diligence and kindness, the show piece it is designed to be will last years as we use the best quality elements we can source. We have used our whips for years now to both school and show with.
How long will my new cane last?
This comes down to you and how you treat it. We strongly recommend keeping your cane in your tube or cane cover to keep it safe, and never store it wet - it is made of a natural fibre that will get mouldy. Crystal toppers must be treated with the utmost care - they are made of glass, they will break if you drop them.
If you need advice on care, or if your whip needs some love after a while, send us an email at info@reinaustralia.com - our customer service does not end once we’ve posted your hacking cane - we are always here to help.
Can you use bamboo on my hacking cane?
Yes we can, but we don’t like to as we cannot guarantee the longevity of the cane without it being reinforced. We do not have the tools to reinforce its entire length with a steel rod, but can do bamboo handles if you desire.
How heavy are your hacking canes/How do they feel?
Our hacking canes are notoriously lightweight and well balanced. We will guide you through the topper choices if weight is a priority as some are slightly heavier than others, and help you select the best fit.
They are lovely to carry for an adult or child rider alike. If you have small hands, or large hands, adjustments can be made to allow for your comfort, so please don’t be surprised if we ask for palm measurements, or ‘How do you carry your cane?’
Can you sponsor our event?
This year Royal Whips and Canes has proudly provided sponsorship to a huge list of Agricultural Societies, Breed Societies and SHC Associations across Australia and New Zealand. If you are looking for sponsorship, please send an email to info@reinaustralia.com to discuss.
Are you looking for sponsored riders?
We are truly flattered being asked to be someone's personal sponsor, but we are not looking for sponsored or supported riders at this stage. If this changes in the future, we will make an announcement on our social media accounts. Please refrain from sending emails seeking sponsorship as they will not be answered.