Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
I just recently started using spurs. I use them as my "last resort force" with Lucky, because since she's been ridden by her new owner (and I plan to stop leasing her as soon as I find another horse) she doesn't want to listen to leg aids. I use my leg, leg a bit more forcefully, and then I engage the spurs as my last resort. I'm finally confident enough in my leg stability (I was suggested to start using them for refinement, but I wasn't confident enough that I wouldn't accidently jab the horses' sides) that I figured I'd start to use them. I bought a pair of slip on rowels at fair last year for trying out a horse I was looking at to buy because she was ridden in spurs, but I ended up hanging them on the rail and only using heels for reinforcement because she listened perfectly fine without them. They've been sitting in my grooming tote since up until two weeks ago.
Lucky listens absolutely perfect when I'm using them. I cue her with leg, she doesn't listen, I brush her winter fuzzies with the spur and she listens right away, I don't even have to touch her sides with them. She needs absolutely no encouragement to go, as she's very forward. Not that I would use them for forward motion though, that's what whips and crops are for, IMO.
I use 6-point rounded rowels, since that's just what I have, but if I just so happen to be offered a free pair of the little round-tipped "starter" spurs, I wouldn't have any "ego-issues" using them instead. I know a few people that I show with that use sharpened rowels on their game horses because the horses don't want to run or listen (because half of them are made crazy), and I cringe. At fair last year I know a little boy (about 12-14?) who bloodied his mares sides (she loved running and she had no issue running her fastest without encouragement) because his mother decided he should use spurs. That little mare ran her heart out and placed every show in barrels, she didnt deserve a boy who didn't know how to use spurs to be kicking the h*ll out of her sides. My point in that story being, even though riders who know how to use them have to really work to bloody a horse's sides, a rider who has no clue how to use them can do it easily. But, that's just my personal opinion.
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