One of my biggest pet peeves is the difficulty of finding an inexpensive lightweight whip that works well for driving. The answer, for me, has been to add a custom lash to an inexpensive fiberglass buggy whip. That makes the whip inexpensive enough that I can have a bunch of them.
The whip you’ll want to buy is a 60″ Wonder Whip with a removable lash. They’re low cost and made in the USA. Schneider Saddlery carries them for under $20, but they can be custom ordered for you by your local tack shop. The soft part of the whip body extends only a couple inches beyond the hard fiberglass core. Don’t get the one with the long integrated soft shaft as these don’t hold up as well. The core ends up protruding through the woven cover.
You’ll also need to buy between 2′ and 4′ of small solid braided nylon rope. The stuff I buy costs about 27¢ per foot and is just under ¼” in diameter. Buy 2′ if you’re adding a single layer lash (see photo below), buy 4′ if you’re adding an 18″ twisted lash.
Buy extra so you have replacement material on hand as the lash will get grungy and worn with everyday use.
To twist the lash, roll the ropes in the same direction while allowing the body of the whip to turn. To tie the end, wrap the longer rope around the shorter and thread it back through itself. To prevent unwinding, sew the two strands of rope together just above the knot using white upholstery thread.
For this iteration, use white upholstery thread to sew/lash one end of the rope just below the eye. The end at the eye needs to be heat sealed to prevent fraying. Cut the rope to the desired length of your lash. Ideally, for a single horse, the lash should be 18″ long.
Part of a whip’s longevity depends on how it’s cared for. Don’t store the whip in a way that causes an acute bend where the whip’s core ends. Either store the whip horizontal or screw a tin can to the wall above where the whip sits and hang the lash over the can to prevent the soft part of the shaft from being misshaped.