Pig shows are a popular American pastime where we can express our passion and get rewarded for our skills and commitment . These shows allow breeders to observe how their stock compares and learn from other professionals. Younger competitors also have an opportunity to earn money for college by raising and showing pigs. And one of the best parts of the entire experience: pig shows allow enthusiasts from across the area to connect with each other.
Competitors have two options for guiding their pigs around the show ring. They can use a heavy wooden cane, or a lightweight, flexible show whip.
Exhibitors find that using a show pig whip rather than a cane allows them to stay in close to their pig during the competition, and provides the judge with an unobscured view of the animal. Show pig whips don’t get as dirty as canes, and they don’t bruise the pig. Many competitors feel that showing with a whip rather than a cane indicates they have better control over their pig, control that was established by spending long hours working with the animal at home.
How to Use a Pig Whip During Competition
The sooner you start working with your pig and getting them used to the pig whip, the better. It takes time for exhibitors to get used to handling the whip and for the pig to understand what the whip means. When holding the whip, don’t grab it like it’s a pencil. Grasp the handle between the thumb and index finger. Don’t hit your hog with the tip, but use light taps to maneuver them. Teach your show pig that a very light tap between it’s flank and shoulder blade means move forward. A light touch of the whip behind the ear teaches the pig which way to turn.
Train the pig to carry its head level with its shoulder blades while walking, which creates the impression of a long, structurally sound hog that will catch the judge’s eye. Hogs are clever animals that respond best to a pressure and release style of training. For example, when you’re teaching your hog to turn right, lightly tap them behind their left ear until the hog moves to the right. As soon as the hog moves right, stop tapping, which rewards the hog for their good behavior. Most pigs respond quickly to the pressure and release method of training.
Show pig whips are preferred by competitors who raise and show: Duroc hogs, Hampshire hogs, Berkshire hogs, Chester White hogs, Landrace hogs, Poland China hogs, Yorkshire hogs, and Blue-Butt hogs. Competitors prefer these hog breeds for showing since they tend to have laid-back temperaments that make them easy to handle, have a steady rate of weight gain, and are known for having good conformation. All of these breeds are traditional which are preferred by heritage hog farmers.
Selecting the Perfect Show Pig Whip
Every person has their own preferences when it come to their favorite show pig whip. Some like a longer, more flexible shaft, while others like something that feels sturdier. Some people like one type of handle material, and others refuse to work with any whip that doesn’t have a rubber golf grip handle. Some competitors prefer pig show whips with a popper, while others favor tassels. When choosing your show pig whip, make sure the whip’s grip fits comfortably in your hand and that whip feels balanced. Handle the whip a great deal before making a purchase and make sure it doesn’t cause hand fatigue.
Here are a few pig whips you’ll want to consider before you and your hog step into the show ring.
DW Whip Series
The DW whips are a nice selection of pig show whips. They’re made to last for several years’ worth of showing, have just the right degree of flexibility, and won’t distract the judge from your pig. DW whips come in a variety of lengths, starting with the junior length of 27″ long shaft and moving all the way up to a 48″ shaft.
Easy Touch Pig Whip
The Easy Touch Whip features a soft tassel at the end of the shaft that encourages pigs to lift their head. The whip’s flexible shaft is durable enough that exhibitors can use the same whip for practicing at home and in the show ring. Each Easy Touch Whip features a 10″ handle with a rubber golf grip. The tassel comes in a variety of colors.
Hog Show Whips
The 6″ popper on the end of each of the Hog Show Whips not only helps drive show pigs around the arena, but is also replaceable, which extends the number of usable years you get out of this double braided, poly material show whip. The easy to grip handle is molded and features a chrome butt cap and ferrule. Hog Show Whips come in either 36″ or 39″ length shafts. The Hog Show Whips come in multiple colors.
Hog Show Whips with Bling
There aren’t any rules stating that hog show equipment has to be boring. Hog Show Whips with Bling are perfect for exhibitors who want to sparkle while showing off their hog. The 6″ popper is replaceable and the whips double braided poly material is attractive in the show ring and durable for practice sessions at home. Hog Show Whips with Bling are only available in black.
Having the perfect show pig whip not only makes the hog easier to handle in the ring, but also boosts your confidence levels, making it impossible for the judge to take their eyes of your hog. They can always tell which hogs exhibitors have worked with and which ones they haven’t based on how well the pig responds to cues. It’s amazing how a beautifully , well-trained hog – weighing over 330 pounds – responds to a simple brush of the whip. The sooner the training process begins, the better your show pig will perform.