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A quirt is a riding whip featuring a short, rigid handle and a leather lash. A quirt’s lash is made from two or more loose thongs.
Quirts can be used for training horses, directing cattle, or for play within the BDSM community. BDSM couples may use quirts during foreplay or as a training aid, especially in pony play.
The term most likely comes from the American-Spanish word cuarta, meaning whip.
A quirt may also be called a riding quirt, a horse quirt, or a dog quirt.
A quirt’s design gives it a relatively slow action. This makes it largely ineffective as a riding aid for horses. Some people use it to punish their horses or to hit and direct cattle from horseback.
Outside of its animal applications, a quirt can be a great tool for any BDSM practitioner’s arsenal.People may use a quirt to show their dominance, like the well-known fetish model Bettie Page. She was often snapped holding quirts in Irving Klaw’s iconic photographs.
Quirts are for more than posing, though. They can be used to train, punish, or pleasure a submissive. Since they can be used with animals, they're a popular choice among people who enjoy pony play, a role-playing activity where the submissive acts as a horse or pony.
Due to their short handles, quirts are a relatively portable toy for BDSM practitioners to take to parties and travel with.
As with whips and floggers, it’s important to play safely with quirts. If a quirt draws blood, this should be cleaned from the skin and quirt thoroughly. You should also avoid drawing blood at a party or another public place to avoid spreading diseases.
Standard safety rules also apply. You shouldn’t play with quirts when you or the other party are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You should also implement a safe word so play can stop whenever either party feels uncomfortable.