How long should my whip or cane be?
Ensure your tack measures up to and meets the regulations of your equestrian association. The greatest consideration is if your whip needs to comply with different societies' regulations then you will need to choose the shorter length.
All lengths described are the total length including the topper and keeper, and all Royal Whips and Canes are measured this way to ensure accuracy.
A keeper is the tongue, flapper or flicker and must meet specific dimensions too.
Your new Royal whip or cane is made to meet your society's regulations - both for keeper size and cane length.
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.
SHC - The cane must measure no longer than 40cm including keeper
In EA Lead Rein Classes, the handler's cane must not exceed 75cm including keeper
SHC - 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. The cane must measure no longer than 40cm including keeper
RASNZ - A cane or a whip not exceeding 68cm in length including keeper, may be carried by riders in both the Lead Rein and First ridden Sections
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
RASNZ - Whips in ridden classes (Main Rings) shall not exceed 76cm
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.
RASNZ - Whips in Led classes shall not exceed 145cm
EA - Maximum length of 100cm for ponies, and 120cm for horses which includes the tassel
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; Royal A&P Society New Zealand Equestrian Rules Handbook 2019