Should I change my whip over in a dressage test?

Joanna Fisher
Joanna Fisher

International Grand Prix dressage rider and trainer Joanna Fisher shares her thoughts on……whether you should change your whip over in a dressage test.

This is a question that greatly depends on how one rides at home. Personally I ride with my whip in my left hand and it remains there during the training session. I only use it as fourth resort, firstly I would use my seat, secondly I would apply the leg, thirdly I would use my voice and finally I would back it up with a touch of the whip if necessary.

As I ride at home with it in my left hand, I don’t change anything at a competition, this also allows me to salute to the judge with my right hand. In high level competition sometimes a whip is not allowed, so always check the rules first.
If you are a rider constantly changing the whip over then it would make sense to do this at a show BUT it is distracting for the judge to watch this, I don’t think visually it helps create a quiet picture in the ring.
There are some horses that need a little more help on one side (this is a training issue and should be addressed at home) so I would think which side you want to keep the whip on and keep it there.
Also remember which hand you salute with, it looks nicer to salute with an empty hand, rather then holding the whip in the hand you drop!
Good luck!

—————————————————————————————————————————————————–Joanna has written a collection of children’s books based on her horses over the years.

It has been published by award winning Candy Jar books and currently available in Waterstones and being read in schools. Click here to link to her website: She also has a dressage website which can be found at

For more advice from Joanna, why not visit her other blog posts here:


Do I need a dressage saddle to do dressage


How Can I make my Pony Stop Leaning on me?


Help My Dressage Circles are oval


What Age should I teach my horse flying changes?


How to turn a leg yield into a half pass


How can I teach my horse shoulder in?


How should I prepare for a dressage test?


Should I do Sitting Trot in My Dressage Test?

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