From Academic Kids
A whip is a tapered flexible length of either a single cord or plaited (braided) leather or other material, commonly with a stiff handle. Whips are used to produce a loud sharp sound -- a "crack" -- to drive or direct livestock or harnessed animals.
Other devices from of one or more straps and used to strike human beings or animals as a means of control or punishment or torture are sometimes also called whips — though they do not crack. These may include: riding crops, horse whips, and various flogging instruments.
Stock whips (or Stockwhips) are a type of single-tailed whip, used by Australian stockmen (ranchers). Its form originated in the English hunting whip, but it has since become a distinct type of whip. Similar to an American bullwhip in body composition, its main difference is in handle construction. Unlike a bullwhip's imbedded handle, the stock whip handle is not fitted inside of the thong and is usually longer. A stock whip's handle is connected to the thong by a joint typically made of a few strands of thick leather. This allows the whip to hang across a stockman's arm when not being used. The handles are normally longer than those of a bullwhip, being between 15 and 21 inches in length. The length of the thong can range from 3 feet to 10 feet. Stock whips are also almost exclusively made from tanned kangaroo-hide.
Florida stockwhip or (Cowwhip) mainly known as the Florida cowwhip, which is used by Floridian cowboys (U.S.), often known as crackers, is a two piece unit like the stockwhip. It is connected to the handle by threading two strands of the thong through a hollow part of a wooden handle and then tied off. The cowwhip is heavier than the Australian stockwhip. Early cowwhips were made mostly of cowwhide, or buckskin . Modern cowwhips are made of nylon, flat parachute chord. Most cowwhips have handles that average 16 inches, and thongs that average 12 feet. A good cowwhip can produce a loud crack by a simple push of the handle. This is very well appreciated, when you can't throw your arm around, as with a bullwhip, in a thick vegitated environment. The Tampa Bay Whip Enthusiasts give demonstrations of the Florida Cracker Cowboy in costume at the annual Heritage Village Civil War Days festival, located in Largo, Florida (U.S.) every May.
Signal whips (Signalwhips) are a type of single-tailed whip, originally designed to control dog teams. A signal whip usually measures between 3 and 4 feet in length. Signal whips and snake whips are similar. What distinguishes a signal whip from a snake whip is the absence of a "fall." A fall is a piece of leather attached to the end of the body of the whip. In a snake whip, the "cracker" attaches to the fall. In a signal whip, the cracker attaches directly to the body of the whip.
Snake whips (Snakewhips) are a type of single-tailed whip. The name snake whip is derived from the fact that this type of whip has no handle inside and so can be curled up into a small circle which resembles a coiled snake. They were once commonly carried in the saddlebag by cowboys of the old west. A full sized snake whip is usually at least 4 feet in length (excluding the fall and cracker at the tip of the whip) and around one inch in diameter at the butt of the whip.
A pocket snake whip can be curled up small enough to fit into a large pocket, and ranges in size from 4 feet to 6 feet in length. The pocket snake whip is primarily a whip for occasional use, such as in loading cattle. Both of these types of snake whips are made with a leather shot bag running approximately three quarters of the length of the whip.
Blacksnakes are the traditional whips used in Montana and Wyoming. The blacksnake has a heavy shot load extending from the butt well down the thong, and the whip is flexible right to the butt, ranges in size from 6 feet to 12 feet in length.
Crops and horse whips
- Dressage whips are usually 3 feet long and are used to refine the aids of the rider, not to hurt the horse.
- Lunge whips are usually 5 feet long and are used to direct the horse on a circle. They take place of the rider's leg aids. The positioning of the lunge whip in relation to the horse gives the horse signals.
- Driving whips are shorter than lunge whips and are used specifically for driving purposes.