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spurs

This is a discussion on spurs within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category
  • How to Wear Spurs Correctly
  • Barrel horses and spurs

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    08-08-2013, 09:37 PM
  #1
Weanling
spurs

Now that my horse gets the idea and has good responsiveness, he showed me a sign of irritation today when I spurred him.

Does every barrel racer ride with spurs?

I am thinking of giving them a rest and see how it goes.

I hadn't meant to but my leg muscles are trying to get back to strength after my accident. So def my fault. I felt terrible. I don't use them to hurt him :(
     
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    08-08-2013, 10:05 PM
  #2
Green Broke
I never ride with spurs; especially barrel racing. I'm too prone to accidentally give my horse a kick during the pattern and you NEVER kick a horse while wearing spurs. How would you like a stick of metal jabbed into your belly?

Spurs are for lateral movement and for refinement of cues, and making your cues lighter. They are not for making your horse run faster.

You will see many barrel racers kicking with normal spurs; shouldn't be done.

Bumper spurs are a little different, as they aren't a straight out spur.
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    08-09-2013, 12:36 AM
  #3
Trained
Spurs are there when you need them...but if you don't feel you can use them properly, you might switch to bumper spurs or no spurs at all. There's no shame in admitting that.

I learned from the literal spur drill sergeant, so I got to the point where I could always ride with spurs and never use them unless I needed them. However, after a recent non-horse related accident, my left leg is much weaker. I find it hard to press with my calf before my spur. I'm trying to get that strength back, but I would dump the spurs for now if I was allowed to (Current boss I'm riding for won't let me) until I could get my leg back to where it was.

I won't lie to you, I'm a kicker with spurs, but it's never without warrant. For example I have the DULLEST horse ever right now I'm riding at work. She's a talented mare but she doesn't have that "sting" yet on the flag. So she will get a light press, then a big kick if she won't turn and GO someplace.

In barrel racing, the "kicking" with the spur often ends up stabbing. The "proper" way to "kick" during a run is more of a flapping with your legs, your calves. The spur should never come in there. The whip before the spur, is how I was taught. Spurring will take the wind from the lungs and make them pissy.

Have you tried bumper spurs?
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    08-09-2013, 12:49 AM
  #4
Foal
Im not a barrel racer, but I learned how to ride with spurs, but not use them unless needed. I used to always wear spurs when working with my horse but soon realized I was never using them, so I took them off. Ocassionaly I'll grab them if my horse is having a problem understanding because my cues are too dulled, or if my horse is just being a mare that day. You should never use your spurs when kicking a horse. Spurs are for help of aids, like said before for lateral movement, and the occasional lazy horse. If you feel you don't need spurs I recommend taking them off because a. It strengthens your leg, and b. Horses that are spurred by an educated riders become basically used to that amount of pressure and don't respond when the aid is taken away, even though that's the opposite of what you want. If anything, you could always take your spurs to the ring with you, and then put them on if you feel you need them when riding(:
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    08-09-2013, 03:50 AM
  #5
Yearling
I barrel race and I never use spurs while running the pattern. I wouldnt trust myself not to accidently lay one into them because its such a high speed event. I occasionally use them with one horse when doing slow work. The other horse despises spurs and I'd end up flying through the air if I tried to use them on him. He's sensitive enough that it doesn't matter though.
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    08-09-2013, 06:54 AM
  #6
Green Broke
I've always worn spurs for barrels and poles..So I guess I'm the odd one out, lol.

I don't kick, the rate of my horse is all by my seat, direction (lateral) is my legs and reins, so I'm not kicking my horse at all and can keep my spurs off the sides.

Honestly, the leg flapping just looks absolutely terrible to me, and it's exactly why many barrel racers have no true balance and have to hold the horn on the run home.
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    08-09-2013, 09:11 AM
  #7
Weanling
Iseul I couldn't agree with you more. I never used the spurs to jab them. All my riding comes from body position and leg pressure. The jab I did yesterday was accidental because I've seen the mean ppl poking and kicking their horses and no they can't ride, they bounce all over the place. That's why their horse slows down probably because he can't balance well. I hate seeing that. It happens alot at our local barrel shows.

I do love bumper spurs because they will give the pressure needed without the hateful poking. I def might switch to those if I feel he's getting lazy. I only got the spurs because he wasn't taking me seriously when I would squeeze to make him get faster. I feel like he knows his work now so maybe I don't need them at all. I certainly don't want to ruin the good horse I've got.
Thanks so much for the advice :)
     
    08-09-2013, 09:37 AM
  #8
Green Broke
I mean, I've done a couple jabs before on a horse who has forgotten what leg means. I have absolutely no coordination with a crop/whip, and I probably won't ever, so I have to work with what I got.

I use rowelled spurs, so not even the nobby-spurs. I cue with my calf, then I roll the rowel, then Ill give a jab if they still haven't listened. I've never had a horse sore or have marks from my spurs and the technique has always worked for me and my horses. A lot of people will tell me I'm wrong for it and that's not what they're meant for. BUT, they're meant for refinement, yes? That's exactly what I'm doing. If I would've touched my old horse in both of her sides with the spur before my calf, she would've taken off at a fast canter/gallop. That was my refinement, it looked absolutely effortless to ride her, but it was hard work to keep your leg steady enough that there was no jabbing at any point during our ride. If I was in a pleasure class (which wasn't her forte..but, we did go in anyway, haha), I didn't want to have to lean forward and move my seat at all, so I preferred to have her go with a brush of my calf instead of my seat during those classes/shows.
For those trail classes, I rolled one spur and opened a rein for a sidepass over a log/pole.
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    08-10-2013, 07:24 PM
  #9
Weanling
I used to use spurs on my gelding as he would not respond to my leg cues without them. I used them in training as well as competition. They should be use strictly as a CUE however. After three months with them on I took them off. He knows the cues now and does not need the spurs to help. He responds perfectly well with my feet after he learned with the spurs. In your case you may have kicked to hard or he may have a sore spot. However, after her is trained with the spurs I would take them off and try without. They are a training aid, not something that should be used all the time, unless it's absolutely necessary which in most cases it is not.
     
    08-11-2013, 09:15 PM
  #10
Foal
I use spurs but I was taught to use them properly. I barrel race with them on and compete with them... some horses I've ridden have no respect without spurs and wont respond to cues which is why they are handy but they should never be used without respect or used as a tool to abuse the animals will to work. You can use spurs and barrel race without the flapping motion.. you just need to find a rhythm with the horse your riding. :)
My mare I ride with I don't have to use spurs (but for finer cues in comp. I do) with my gelding he loves to go but he will not listen to cues sometimes so I usually have my spurs when riding him. It just depends on the rider, horse, and discipline and the skills or level of them.
( P.S. When running home I don't hold the horn but encourage the horse for more speed with my legs, seat, and hands... I swear it tires me more than my horse lol)
     

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