When bullwhips are used for the first time, this is referred to as “breaking in” the whip. Properly breaking in a whip will enable it respond to movements and an exertion of force. The bullwhip should respond effortlessly when it is moved. A sluggish whip needs to be broken in correctly so that it flows like an extension of one’s hand. When a bullwhip is lent or given to another person to use, it can feel different when it is returned. If many users handle the whip, it gets broken in unevenly and it may be difficult to associate the whip with a natural flow. This can also affect the longevity of the whip. Hence, beware of passing whips around to multiple users.
Saddle soap may be used when breaking in a bullwhip. When mixed with a little quantity of water, shavings of Saddle soap can be used to make a paste which is then rubbed on the bullwhip. The Saddle soap paste can be rubbed on the handle, fall and tips of the bullwhip. Care should be taken not to make the bullwhip damp or let it soak in water. If the whip does get damp or wet, straighten out the bullwhip or let it hang naturally and dry for a day or two. After applying the Saddle soap and letting the paste dry on the whip, a dry cloth may be rubbed against the whip to remove any residue of soap.
Breaking in a new whip can be an exciting process. However, it can also lead to frustration and impatience. It can take some time to break in a bullwhip. The best way to break in a whip is to simply use it. There are no tricks, formulas or magic portions that can help the whip owner break in the whip. The more the whip is used, the more it becomes responsive to its user. Exerting extra force on the whip will not make it break faster. Instead, too much force on the whip can damage the whip. The whip needs to break in at its own pace to be useful for the owner or user. It gradually learns to be flexible and flow naturally when it is moved. Persistence is essential when trying to break in a whip.