Spur or no spur?

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Spur or no spur?

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    07-23-2011, 04:11 AM
Spur or no spur?

Hello Horse friends!

I am not an expert rider but I love riding. I take lessons as much as I can.
Today while I was riding alone I heard an instructor/trainer saying " My people (student) don't use spur" I got really curious, does this mean it's better not to use spur? This is not my first time to hear this. There was one trainer I met who told me "Oh you have spurs, you must have a difficult horse"
I need your comments/say on this. Thank you photo(18).jpg

-I am no expert rider - love love love riding
-wants to learn that is why I invest in lessons
-I have 2 horses right now
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    07-23-2011, 04:49 AM
I've ridden for just over 3 years, but as of yet I've never had a riding lesson, and for the horses I've ridden so far I haven't needed spurs, although that could change soon as I find it hard to reach Mitch and give him the cues I need to.

My question to you is, why do you ride in spurs? Is your horse lazy, do you need them to be able to reach? Have you been brought up with them? Or do you have them just to look cool etc.

It's not bad to have spurs so long as they are used correctly (IMO) but if you don't need them, then why have them, it's just extra gear that can get in the way if you don't have a set purpose for using them.
I personally prefer whips if my horse isn't listening (for now) but I don't full on hit him with it, its more of an "Oi you, wake up." brush over the shoulder/behind my leg. But he recently got a fright from it and turned into an exploding bomb.. So I haven't ridden with a whip since then.
    07-23-2011, 04:51 AM
Thanks for the input. I use them in the beginning because I had really weak legs. Actually up until now I still am weak I believe.
    07-23-2011, 04:52 AM
^ and I am short 5'2
In the beginning, I did not even want to use spur because it's not the"cool" look I was scared I might hurt my dear horsey-funny : )
    07-23-2011, 05:14 AM
The use of spurs is different for every horse and rider and what discipline you are riding. Example, my showjumper gets super fiery when we enter the jump ring cause she wants to go, but when we do our flatwork, she needs a whip and spur to keep her forward, as she dawdles and eventually stops if you're not on her all the time.

But, my mother's dressage horse would go absolutely NUTS with a spur.
If you have been riding with spurs, then keep at it, as you would know if you are doing damage or it wasn't working. Spurs are something everyone thinks different of. I believe if they are used correctly, they are an extremely useful training aid. Like a whip. Most people know you don't use a whip to beat your horse, and when used lightly and in the right way, can teach a horse wonderful things.
    07-23-2011, 09:19 AM
Personally I hate spurs. Unless you are doing the upper levels of your sport I don't think you need the refinement of the spur. Spurs should not be used to create a forward moving horse. If you can't get your horse to move off of your leg, you can use a crop/whip.

Also, it can be pretty easy for someone to accidentally spur there horse, its hard to imagine someone accidentally using a whip on them....
    07-23-2011, 12:47 PM
Originally Posted by gypsygirl    
personally I hate spurs. Unless you are doing the upper levels of your sport I don't think you need the refinement of the spur. Spurs should not be used to create a forward moving horse. If you can't get your horse to move off of your leg, you can use a crop/whip.

Also, it can be pretty easy for someone to accidentally spur there horse, its hard to imagine someone accidentally using a whip on them....
Just keep in mind some of us can't use a crop/whip on our horse. Or some horses just do not do well with a crop/whip. They are not the miracle cure for a lazy horse that won't move off your leg. My horse Dallas was beaten badly over the head and in the legs with crops and whips while cornered in his stall. And when being riding the abusive trainer would carry a whip and beat on him the whole ride, over the head, on the butt, you name it. If you try to carry one while riding him he'll become very nervous and sweaty, and once you use it he'll ditch you. Doesn't matter who you are, if you're carrying a crop and hit him with it, he'll make you eat dust. IMO a crop can be just as 'bad' as spurs if in the wrong hands. A crop shouldn't be a way around proper training and getting the horse to move off your leg either. Both spurs and crops are tools, not weapons, and should be treated as such.

I wear spurs on Dallas, he's well trained and moves off my leg but the spurs give us a more refined ride. The spurs must be used correctly, they aren't a way around using your leg, they are for refinement. We show upper level hunters and if I want him really paying attention and totally focused on his work I wear spurs. You need a solid leg to use spurs, yes. But if you ride with a solid and secure leg then there should not be accidental use of the spur. I have also seen riders accidentally hit their horse with a crop while turning, or switching it from one hand to the other. Spurs are a very useful tool, they should be used as an extension of your leg.

Everyone has there own opinion on things like this, I just wanted to point out that crops are not always the answer to a horse that won't move off your leg, and that spurs aren't always bad. Hope that didn't come off as rude, as I had no intention of that. My purpose was to share another point of view.


As for the OP, the trainer who told you "Oh you have spurs, you must have a difficult horse," is very ignorant. There are many different uses for spurs. Some of the best trained horses you'll meet are ridden with spurs. It really depends on what you and your horse need, and what you want to use the spur for. As I said, the spur is an extension of your leg. I never jab my horse with my spur, I use a pressing action when I use them. Sometimes even just brushing the spur on my horses side is enough. Some people seem to believe the only way to use spurs is to jab with them. If you watch a good rider with spurs you will barely ever see obvious movement of the spur. There are also many different kinds of spurs for both English and Western. Spurs back up and reinforce your natural aids. Spurs are used to give very subtle signals that you can barely see when watching. Spur use should be subtle and quiet. A rider who flaps their spurs all over the place should not be wearing them, and does not know how to use them properly. I don't think spurs should be given to begins to just go to town with. One must be taught how to use them correctly.

I also have a friend who has National and International titles, and he rides his horse in spurs. His horse is one of the best trained horses I know, and is not at all difficult. When you watch him ride it looks like he's doing nothing at all. That's how it should be.

If you don't need spurs don't use them, but there is nothing wrong with using them correctly if they will improve or refine your ride. I think spurs get a bad wrap from people who don't truly understand their purpose and use.
    07-23-2011, 12:47 PM
^thanks guys! I am learning from all you guys!
    07-23-2011, 01:11 PM
I use spurs if I'm doing a discipline class with a trained horse and would like that extra stretch to reach back and ask for a haunch/shoulder turn/sidepass. I never use them on my horses for everyday work, as they're just not necessary. Then again, my horses are all very forward and don't need much to keep moving.
    07-23-2011, 01:55 PM
Originally Posted by MyLittleHunter    
Both spurs and crops are tools, not weapons, and should be treated as such.
I agree, spurs will work for some horses but not others. You can overuse spurs, crops or just your leg with potentially damaging effects, so I think as long as you're careful with your aids and are sensible with how you use them, then its ok. Like anything really you should understand the reasons they are used and what you're aiming to achieve to make sure they are effective for you and your horse. Good luck :)

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