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
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
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.
- 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.