Using Spurs - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 12 Old 06-11-2012, 02:41 PM Thread Starter
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Using Spurs

My trainer encourages us to use spurs because he says its more humane than overusing the bit. I agree with this, but I just don't know if I want to use them still. It just seems weird, although I'm getting used to it.
What's your opinion on spurs? Do you use them? Why?
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-11-2012, 02:46 PM
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As long as you can control your lower leg, and you only use them when a calf squeeze gets no response, then spurs are a valuable resource. If you don't feel comfortable wearing/using them, tt your instructor about it and figure out why, before you wear them riding.
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-11-2012, 02:47 PM
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I only started using spurs last year, and it was a stupid decision to wait so long. You don't have to engage the spur unless you choose to. Now I wouldn't ride without them.
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post #4 of 12 Old 06-11-2012, 02:50 PM
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I never use spurs for forward motion, but they are essential for lateral movement and collection. It gives you that extra "reach", and a separate cue from your leg. I don't even think of them as pain inflicting devices; I see them as an extension of my leg and a cueing aid. It really helps to finesse a performance.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-11-2012, 04:37 PM
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I WONT get on a horse without spurs. It is a very useful, and safety tool. One of my favorite poems is about spurs and explains how I feel. Look up "spurs" by stan tixter.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-12-2012, 09:45 PM
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I don't currently use them, though I did with my last horse. I agree that they can be useful if used correctly. However, I've seen people abuse them too, and for that reason I'm generally hesitant about them.

I should also note.. I use as mild a spur as I can.
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post #7 of 12 Old 06-13-2012, 10:11 PM
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use mild ones. I was a firm believer in them for a hesitant nudge every so often.. a friend of mine had a horse that would just side jump every so often.. so I told him id work him. I rode the horse for about three hours.. when id feel him going to jump id apply pressure and if he jumped id use the leg in the direction he was going harder. When I got back to the barn and told him I couldnt get him to stop I looked at his sides and it made my stomach turn. I was trying to be careful but I did damage.. I swore then that Id never wear them again.. or at least not the type I had on.
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-13-2012, 11:01 PM
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I generally have rowelled spurs on my boots. During any type of training, they stay on my boots and I use them when I need them. Now that I'm leasing a finished trail horse, I toss 'em in the tack trunk before I get on for a trail, because I know she won't need them.
Now, I will admit, I did get a tad annoyed during one of her buddy sour fits that included her flying backwards toward another horse at a show and I used them a bit harder than needed to gain the forward motion that was necessary for the moment, but I have not made the mistake since.

I've gotten much better results with both horses I've ridden with spurs on lateral movement. The mare I'm now leasing was in a hack, which offered me absolutely no lateral movement if she wasn't reacting to my legs. I, personally, cannot kick one leg hard enough to get her to listen if she isn't having it because my leg cramps, with the spurs I can reinforce my nudge without cramping my leg before I get the response I asked for originally. They're a great tool, but I see quite a few riders at shows who think it's appropriate to kick the crap out of their horses' sides with 3" rowels, and that is not what they're intended for.
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-14-2012, 08:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mason72 View Post
use mild ones. I was a firm believer in them for a hesitant nudge every so often.. a friend of mine had a horse that would just side jump every so often.. so I told him id work him. I rode the horse for about three hours.. when id feel him going to jump id apply pressure and if he jumped id use the leg in the direction he was going harder. When I got back to the barn and told him I couldnt get him to stop I looked at his sides and it made my stomach turn. I was trying to be careful but I did damage.. I swore then that Id never wear them again.. or at least not the type I had on.
Don't blame the tools, blame the operator ;)

I ride nearly always in spurs, and never apply them unless I have to. I've given a couple of horses a few good thumps with the leg when they have barged into it - and have never caused spur wounds.
This is why you don't wear spurs unless you have a perfectly quiet, controlled lower leg in all paces, and if the horse is giving you some trouble. Until the leg can be 100% controlled, don't add a spur to it.
When the leg CAN be controlled, adding a spur is a brilliant way to improve the sensitivity to an aid - particularly in the lateral and collected work.

However, I don't understand why your instructor says that spurs will replace the use of the bit?
The spur is a driving (forward) aid, while the bit is a restraining aid. If you are over using the bit, you shouldn't be adding spurs, but working on your seat so that you do not rely on the reins.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-14-2012, 09:27 AM
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Kayty it was definitely the operator..lol
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