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Horse Talk for Teens!

This is a discussion on Horse Talk for Teens! within the Horse Talk forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • Teen goes into horses chat
  • Teen cowboy using his spurs on horse

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    05-29-2013, 06:20 PM
  #1501
Weanling
Matingales are good for horses that just start training. They teach them how to collect and keep their head down. I don't think that horses should always ride with a martingale, but it is a good teacher for a green broke horse. I've only had one on Honey for about 2 weeks and I'm not using it anymore as of yesterday. No, you shouldn't need a martingale to keep a horse in frame, but it's a good training/reinforcement tool.

I have nothing against spurs either, I was just saying I prefer no spurs when I ride. Here's why, riding with spurs I do believe is good when you first start teaching a horse to respond to leg aids. After working with the horse with spurs for a little bit there should be enough respect or intimidation caused by the spurs that you don't or rarely need to use them. Using spurs all the time can cause problems, in my opinion. It causes the horse to become desensitized to your leg aids when you're not wearing spurs and can cause the horse to get desensitized to the spur itself or even sour the horse which will create an unresponsive horse or resentful horse. To me, a spur is just a reinforcement tool that should be used rarely. Because like I said, there should be enough intimidation and respect caused by using spurs that you rarely or never have to use them.

I can ride fine on spurs and have no problems, I've ridden horses on spurs before. Some horses do require spurs. Like the old horse I trained Dusty. He needed spurs because he wasn't very responsive without them.
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    05-29-2013, 10:28 PM
  #1502
Trained
Yeah, you're not getting what I'm saying.

You shouldn't NEED a martingale to GET a horse in frame in the first place.

Most I've ever used is lunging in side reins to give the horse something to work into. I grant my life would be much easier if I put a German martingale on my gelding BUT it would also promote the false frame he likes to go around in. No thanks. I'd prefer my horses going correctly, pushing from behind.

If you need a gadget to teach roundness, you're not teaching true roundness, but rather a false frame or headset.

Edit; might I just add, I have a VERY green-broke filly who is already starting to come into frame. I lunged her in side reins once, keeping her going until she learned not to fight the contact, and since then a light contact has had her trying to come into frame. She isn't strong enough to hold it for long but as she gets stronger, she'll hold it longer. She is going in SELF-carriage, which means I have absolutely no need for gadgets because it doesn't come from my hands.
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    05-29-2013, 10:33 PM
  #1503
Trained
Also, regarding spurs, they DO NOT sour or dull the horse if used correctly. Sorry, but if GP dressage riders use them [regularly, might I add - I know one who won't ride without them, even on his young horses] then they definitely don't dull the horses.

Again, the spur is for REFINEMENT, and definitely NOT for reinforcement. A WHIP is for reinforcement.
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    05-30-2013, 01:24 AM
  #1504
Weanling
I'm just going to get off the subject of martingales because that's how I've been taught, by reputable trainers, to train a horse. I shouldn't say a martingale trains a horse good collection and to keep it's head down, it just shows the horse how it should. Not every horse needs a martingale, and you're right no horse NEEDS a martingale. But it's just like spurs a horse shouldn't NEED a spur. Any good and experienced rider will tell you that your natural leg aids are more important and should be the primary leg cue for a horse, not spurs.

A spur is used to reinforce a leg aid. When aids are consistently alternated from light to firm, the horse will learn to respond to the lightest aid because he knows the REINFORCEMENT will come if he doesnít. A spur should only be used to reinforce your natural leg aids. I understand what you're trying to say about a spur used as a refinement tool, and it is a refinement tool, but primarily spurs are for reinforcement.

And spurs may not dull a horse to the use of spurs but it most certainly will dull a horse to natural leg aids. And when using spurs on lazy horses, it may end up training him to only respond to the spur. Also, since most lazy horses are insensitive, they may learn to ignore the spur just as much as they ignore the riderís leg. Horses that are spur trained and have spurs used on them as a cue and the rider doesn't use the proper natural leg aids, the horse is going to be deaf to any cue done with your legs unless you have spurs on.

It's like a bit. If you have a horse in a curb bit and that's what you primarily ride with, then one day you decide to use a snaffle, the horse is going to be less responsive and more dull to the snaffle because he's used to the more harsh curb bit because that's what the horse is used to. Now take that and put it in the form of spurs. If spurs are used constantly on a horse then one day you take the spurs off then horse is going to be dull to the natural leg aids because the spur is more harsh and that's what the horse is used to.

When ever you train a horse you always ask and then you tell. When ever you have spurs you ask with you natural leg aid then you tell or REINFORCE with a spur. That's the correct way to use a spur.

A spur is a REINFORCEMENT to your NATURAL LEG AIDS.

And I'll say again...I have nothing against spurs. They're great for teaching a horse to respond to leg aids and great for a REINFORCEMENT tool and refinement tool.
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    05-30-2013, 02:42 AM
  #1505
Trained
We'll have to agree to disagree. I don't agree with any gadget that works on the front end of a horse and I'm not a big fan of the Pessoa lunging system either [which works on the whole horse]. I use side reins while lunging because it gives the horse a consistent contact to work into, much the same as having a rider on their back. The horse that is correctly mouthed and correctly trained naturally comes into a headset without the need for gadgets.

My learning about bits and spurs is from a dressage standpoint where they ARE used to refine. Used correctly, the bit and the spur are actually completely unnecessary. Take any [CORRECTLY trained] Grand Prix horse, and its rider, and remove saddle, bridle and spurs, and ask them to ride a dressage test. The horse SHOULD be ridden so much off seat and body position that they can ride any movement at any level, through any sequence, with no issues. They compete with double bridle and spurs for REFINEMENT. Of course there's bad dressage at every level but the spur is so that you can refine your leg aids. With a bare heel, you have to move your leg more [therefore giving more visible aids] to be clear to your horse what it is exactly that you want. The point of dressage is to appear as if there is a telepathic connection between horse and rider.

Hence, we refine. And we refine. And we refine. The same with the double bridle - refinement. You can give two aids at once with a double bridle on, with the two different mouthpieces. The bit and bradoon is potentially an incredibly harsh combination in the wrong hands, but used correctly, on a horse that is properly trained, it is a refinement tool. The horse that goes in a double bridle should go equally softly in a snaffle.

The spur is not for digging into the horse's side. It's for TOUCHING the horse's side with an accurate, refined aid. The horse ridden with a spur SHOULD be equally soft and responsive with a bare heel.

I have to wonder how much your trainer knows if they are encouraging the use of gadgets to be honest... I know MINE actively DIScourages martingales of any kind, harsh bits [she only puts up with the fact that I ride in a pelham for jumping because she knows I -can- ride my horse jumping and XC in a snaffle, I just feel safer with 'emergency brakes'], any sort of gadget. The most she will allow in noseband-land is a flash. Cranks are unacceptable, grackles only ok in jumping and even then ONLY because they restrict the nostrils less than a cavesson or a flash. She is a professional competitor and trainer as well as a riding coach. She teaches English, the RIGHT way.
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    05-30-2013, 02:09 PM
  #1506
Weanling
We'll agree to disagree haha :) I do completely agree that spurs are used as a refinement tool AFTER there has been reinforcement on what you're asking and reinforcement on your natural leg aids. The horse first has to understand what you're asking and has to be reinforced to what you're asking before you can refine what you're asking. Refinement can only come after reinforcement.

Spurs are just as much of gadgets as martingales are.

Here's one thing I hate about spurs. When ever you see new or younger riders, they think "oh, well cowboys used spurs so I'd better use spurs too!" The way we work with horses nowadays is waaay different than the cowboys. The cowboy days are over when it comes to working and training and breaking horses. And these new riders put a pair of spurs on everytime they ride and make them be their primary cue and don't know how to use them and create problems with their horses. I was the same way when I first got into horses. I thought you needed spurs everytime you ride because that's what the cowboys did. I learned that's not the way spurs are used.

I don't know a ton about english because I mainly ride western (although I REALLY want to learn english). But I thought that Dressage spurs had no rowels on them like western spurs do...am I wrong or correct?
     
    05-30-2013, 05:43 PM
  #1507
Weanling
I meant, I thought dressage spurs have no rowels UNLIKE western spurs
     
    05-30-2013, 06:42 PM
  #1508
Yearling
Wow, quite a discussion has been going on! Lol

Not to argue, Horse Racer, but just because you wear your spurs all the time does not mean you always use them. It is better to have them if you need them then need them and not have them! Of course, it is great to know your horse doesn't need them and you can hop on with nothing, but having them always on DOES NOT HURT.
     
    05-30-2013, 06:44 PM
  #1509
Yearling
I meant to quote the following, oops!

I have nothing against spurs either, I was just saying I prefer no spurs when I ride. Here's why, riding with spurs I do believe is good when you first start teaching a horse to respond to leg aids. After working with the horse with spurs for a little bit there should be enough respect or intimidation caused by the spurs that you don't or rarely need to use them. Using spurs all the time can cause problems, in my opinion. It causes the horse to become desensitized to your leg aids when you're not wearing spurs and can cause the horse to get desensitized to the spur itself or even sour the horse which will create an unresponsive horse or resentful horse. To me, a spur is just a reinforcement tool that should be used rarely. Because like I said, there should be enough intimidation and respect caused by using spurs that you rarely or never have to use them.

Another thing, unless used incorrectly, spurs never cause a problem.

You are right about the respect thing. BUT, it doesn't mean you can't WEAR them. :)
     
    05-30-2013, 07:37 PM
  #1510
Foal
I personally HATE spurs! My horses are all trained on voice command, therefore taking the use of legs in getting them to start, and move up pace. But if you are going to use spurs, I would suggest you use them lightly. And when I say that I mean trying to limit the hurt to the horse. You don't like being poked or hit or kicked, same goes for horses. You need to respect them seeing as they do what we ask the majority of the time
     

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