Originally Posted by Mike Zimmerman View Post
You don't poke, jab, or otherwise harpoon a horse with spurs! You pull your heel up the rib cage, with western spurs the rowels will roll up the side. The spurs are meant to give a weird tickling sensation to the horse not induce pain. As prey animals horses have an ability to tune out pain and go numb, it's a defence mechanism that most prey animals have. You use your legs to create energy and bring up the life in a horse, you don't do that through fear. By fear I mean fear of your leg, fear of the pain you'll inflict if the don't obey. Fear isn't respect, respect is understanding. Understanding is the horse knowing that your legs mean he needs to do something and he's willing to do it. Spuring and kicking almost never teaches a horse to put some life in their feet all it does is make them more resentful.
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Hnn. I have to slightly disagree with you there, I can understand the thought process, and maybe the word 'jab' was too harsh for what I meant and for that I apologise.
As mentioned previously, three steps to begin with, ask with leg, then with spur, and then a good ol' pony club kick. Any reaction is better than none, and if your horse reacts, praise and go forwards even if its not the gait you were after.
Start to wean the horse off once this is accomplised. Ask with leg, and then kick. I've trained plenty of horses that are 'dead to the leg' in this manner, none of which have been unhappy in their work, and became a lot easier to ride. They became happier because people, students, owners weren't kick, kick, kicking all the time, slightest pressure and you get the result you like.
I have never trained a 2yo though, so development wise I don't know do's and don'ts for how much work you can give them.