Debunking Myths: ‘The Whip is only an Extension of my Arm’

The Whip is Only an Extension Of My Arm

Click the link to go to the blog and read what I have to say about the myth ‘The Whip is only an extension of my arm’.

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Sandra Poppema, BSc

Teaching horse people to make training a win-win and bond with their horse so they can enjoy their time together.

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12 thoughts on “Debunking Myths: ‘The Whip is only an Extension of my Arm’

  1. Very interesting thoughts on the whip… I use a whip… I use it to remind my horse that I mean business, I tickle first. i also use it to knock flies off his face or belly; if an insect bothers him he points it out for me to rub it off with my whip.
    Although I use my whip now and then, I always am proud to remember that my grandmother told me, in an admonishing tone, that my horse ”has no respect for the chambrière”….

    And anyway, it goes both ways. You remember when you helped me out to work the Tarq a bit when I was crippled and had to stumble around on sticks?
    His Majesty was seriously displeased.
    And he gave it to me on the most padded part of my backside and knocked me down.


    • I never got the concept of the ”carrot stick” either. A carrot is a carrot and a stick is a stick.

      In my opinion it’s the same as with a bit. I don’t think it matters so much what is being used, but who the Yahoo is who uses it.


    • Yes I remember it. I am still ashamed that I believed the bullsh*t marketing that the method came with. 😉 That is why I don’t use a natural horsemanship method anymore. Horses don’t like to be bossed around.

      Sensitive and highly intelligent horses like The Tarq don’t mind standing up for themselves (and their herd) to tell people they need to find other -more friendly- ways to connect with them and ask them instead of telling them.

      Now I know better, I do better. You have a smart horse, Aafke!


  2. Such a b*s*. Another one that tries to make an advertisement for herself by generalizing everyone. For 80% you’re wright, but 20% no you aren’t. For those, their whip is like a irritating fly around there horse, never to land or has landed on the horse. Flying around to train the horse so he gets more healthy and lives longer in total happiness. Being this fly, doesn’t mean that on the other side he has become his best friend in life.nobody live in a perfect happy world. If having a fly around to live happy and healthy, I think each horse in the world would wish to have a friend like that around him. Hi fly, because if you I can fly too.


  3. Many years ago (in the bad old check chain days) when I was having a lot of difficulty with my dog-aggressive German shepherd, I was given advice to carry a riding crop to use on her.
    It didn’t really seem to solve any problems, but she did learn to dart out of the way of it very quickly. Do I whacked my own leg 😦
    Riding crop got put away, and down the track with later dogs it became an excellent target stick 🙂


    • Thinking after I posted — a target stick IS an extension of your arm.
      The riding crop I bought initially had a little leather hand-shaped flap on the end, so it did make an excellent target stick.
      When I was doing demonstrations with my dogs I actually bought some very pretty kiddies riding crops in baby pink and blue with sparkly star-shapes on their end


  4. I have to let you know, your mention of the feather reminded me, I know a R- trainer who does use a feather! Trainers like this will think of anything to condition the human to thinking aversives or the threat of aversives, even if it *is* a feather, is ok. They rely on the fact that people don’t understand that horses can still read a cue that an aversive is coming, whether it’s a feather or a ‘carrot’ stick or a whip.

    Maybe fodder for another blog? 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Pauline for mentioning this. I haven’t seen it, but of course you can substitute every aversive tool for something that misleads the audience. Thank you for pointing this out!

      Isn’t it horrible that horse trainers mislead the audience on purpose at cost of the horse? A horse doesn’t lie so it is up to use to enlighten horse enthusiasts and educate them how to read the body language of a horse well.


  5. Reblogged this on HippoLogic and commented:

    I rewrote this article. I still think it is one of the hardest myth to debunk, because we have to take a look at ourselves and maybe choose the path less travelled. Not every one wants to do that.


  6. It’s a really good explanation for what most people don’t or won’t see. I try to hint to this a lot, but they really don’t seem to understand that the horse responses out of fear, not out of understanding or willingness. I think this article is a good way to point out what is wrong with the “extension of my arm” way of thinking. Thank you so much for this blog. It is one I will point out when talking about such a things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jensvl. It is indeed the principle of learning that people haven’t learned anywhere. I learned it in university, aften being in a riding school for years. I think people should learn the principles of learning and motivation (there are only 2 flavours: away from discomfort or moving towards pleasure) in the first ten lessons.


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