Whip Use in Show Jumping Lit Review

Critical review of the literature

This section of the dissertation critically discusses the existing knowledge on the subject and highlights any discrepancies or gaps in the knowledge.   It places the dissertation within a conceptual framework.

Equine learning
Whip use in different disciplines

Equine Learning and Behaviour
As prey animals, horses have a natural motivation to remove aversive stimuli (Mills & McDonnell 2005). This natural quality has been exploited by trainers using the ‘pressure and release’ model (Hendriksen, Elmsgreen & Ladewig, 2011). Leg pressure is an example of a natural ‘pressure and release’ aid which should be increased when the horse is not impulsed and released immediately upon the desired response allowing the horse a natural reward driven by instinct (McGreevy & McLean, 2010). Leg pressure is a form of negative reinforcement (McLean, 2005). When used correctly as a reinforcement of the leg aid, the whip also offers a form of negative reinforcement (McGreevy and Mclean 2010). The whip is an artificial aid and timing of application is critical to reinforcing the correct response. Poor timing of release accounts for many behavioural problems in the ridden and lead horse (McGreevy & McLean, 2007).   Many trainers are unaware of the cognition the horse endures when learning, leading to an anthropomorphic view. The trainer believes the horse is comprehending the justification for training and understanding the reason for any punishment given. Murphy & Arkins (2007) explain horses may be merely responding to the aids given and potentially not comprehending reasons for punishment – rendering the punishment redundant (Mills & McDonnell 2005). There also appears to be a assumption that the relationship between a handler and a horse is that same as that between a rider and a horse, however there is no supporting evidence that the horse is aware that it is the rider inflicting the aids (McGreevy & McLean, 2007). Thus...