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This is a discussion on Spurs? within the English Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    11-06-2013, 07:14 PM

I was just wondering what everyone's thought were on spurs. I've never used them before, and I'm still not quite sure how I feel about them.

I'm currently riding a horse that's not very forward, to put it lightly, and his owner had suggested I use spurs. However, I've never thought them necessary in all the time I have been riding...

This horse is coming along quite nicely, though I have to use my whip more than I usually do. He was very dull to the leg when I started riding him however, and that doesn't seem to be going away. Obviously, I don't want him to get dull to the spurs as well, so I'd obviously use them sparingly but... I'm just not very comfortable with them.

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    11-06-2013, 08:33 PM
(sorry about this post. My computer is acting up)
    11-06-2013, 08:39 PM
Spurs are cruel in my opinion. Imagine someone jabbing your side with metal. Painful. Please don't go off at me (this is to everyone) because it's just my opinion.
Most saddle problems are fixed by groundwork. That's how my pony became more forward.
My dad brought me spurs as my pony was so slow and fat. I REFUSED to use them.
Now? He is doing everything on cue.
Don't use spurs just do more ground work!!
Northernstar likes this.
    11-06-2013, 08:46 PM
Spurs aren't cruel, they are inanimate objects, once you strap them on to a person there is a definite risk that they will be used in a cruel fashion.

I personally don't use spurs to get more 'go' the few times I have used them is to improve lateral work, a poke in the side to move away.

To wake a horse up I prefer a whip or the ends of my reins, ask once nicely, squeeze, one little nudge with my calf, then follow up with one good solid wack behind the girth, leaving the reins quite loose, so if you get a jump forward you don't jab in the mouth.

I much prefer that method than keep kicking and nagging for ever, the last horse I used it on was a changed boy after one 30 minute lesson.
    11-06-2013, 08:48 PM
I love my spurs. ;) I had never used them until I started riding again a while back. I think they are fantastic. Just make sure you seek out the advice of someone who knows what they are doing if you decide to purchase some. They range from very mild to very severe. I didn't realize that.
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Khaeix likes this.
    11-06-2013, 08:50 PM
I don't like using spurs for more "go." My horse is definitely on the lazy side, but I have found that being consistent about requiring him to be more responsive to my leg (with a dressage whip for backup) has made a world of difference. I do occasionally ride in spurs, but only for lateral movements.

Like any device, spurs can be cruel in the wrong hands (on the wrong feet?) I don't jab my horse in the side with them, and I don't kick, whether I have spurs on or not. The spurs I use have a smooth spinning roller (like these) If my horse isn't moving off my leg in a lateral movement (and I do always give him the chance to move off the leg alone), then I roll the end of the spur lightly on his side- it's light enough that it wouldn't hurt if it were done to me- and this is all it takes to remind him that he needs to move off the leg.
RedAce likes this.
    11-06-2013, 08:55 PM
As stated above spurs are not for impulsion, if your horse is lazy and you need more forward impulsion use a crop. Squeeze, cluck, spank/ask, tell, make use the crop to make him go forward. Spurs are an aid for lifting your horses ribcage for lateral movement and when asking for vertical collection.
    11-06-2013, 09:44 PM
Originally Posted by Golden Horse    
I personally don't use spurs to get more 'go' the few times I have used them is to improve lateral work, a poke in the side to move away.

To wake a horse up I prefer a whip or the ends of my reins, ask once nicely, squeeze, one little nudge with my calf, then follow up with one good solid wack behind the girth, leaving the reins quite loose, so if you get a jump forward you don't jab in the mouth.
He doesn't do lateral anything as well. He will just ignore leg.

As I said, I use my whip A LOT. I definitely doesn't work as well as I'd like, or as well as it logically should. He's just a strange, lazy horsey.

At the moment, I do a lot of lengthen/shorten type things. This works very well to get him forward, but I have to remind myself not to use my legs too much.
    11-06-2013, 09:53 PM
What I really want is for him to pay attention to my leg. I'm just kind of tired of beating him up with my crop (which is what it seems to take most of the time). I feel like at this point, some gentle spurs would be better for him.

As for the cruel/not cruel thing, I'm an experienced rider, and I have control of my feet. I won't be jabbing him in the side, that's for sure. It's more like I need something to remind him of what he's supposed to be doing.
    11-06-2013, 09:53 PM
How are you using your whip? If you are struggling make sure you are not tap tap tapping, you should be able to hit him HARD once, horses, like husbands, tune out nagging, so to correct this you have to be prepared to really give him one. What sort of whip? A shorter stockier whip with a broad leather flap on the end is better than a schooling or dressage whip for a real dead head.
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