personally i hate spurs. unless you are doing the upper levels of your sport i dont think you need the refinement of the spur. spurs should not be used to create a forward moving horse. if you cant 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.