The spur thing was addressed at a Sharon Camarillo clinic I got to sit in on. She says kicking is going to irritate the horse and actually cause some to slow down, or knock the wind out of them.
When you are loping you horse, just around the arena, and you ask him to run, does he respond? Or does he keep up the same speed?
It sounds like he's a pretty lazy, chill horse, am I right? I would get an over and under (Ditch the crop if he's not responding, my mare doesn't respond to a crop either, only the whip) Give him a loose rein around the rail, ask him to go faster, then get after him with that whip. Relax as soon as he speeds up and let him go, then melt down and let him come back to a lope again. Get him really firing just loping around the rail. If he's a hot horse this might make him get flustered though, so just be aware of that. My mare is chill and it works for her. She just recently got over her issue of not firing between the barrels.
Have you tried breezing this horse? Will he run out in a big, open, safe field? Is he anticipating the barrels at all? If he's anticipating, I would purposely run him past the barrels and continue around the rail of the arena. Stands him up a little. I mean, don't run by every single time, but don't let him anticipate and duck in or slow down on you. Make him think and listen to you.
I agree with beau, a video would be nice.
Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.