I've had lots of horses come in like this; this mare more than likely had some emotional trauma connected to the spurs.
She may have been a very sensitive mare that was actually "ruined" to speak do to the old trainers methods. A good horseman knows to alter their program to each and every horse.
My most recent was a mare who had such emotional trauma from one trainer, that every time she stepped foot into the arena she had diahrrea instantly, had a nervous, shaking, sweating panic attack and couldn't breathe, and before I got there would become a witch and strike at anyone or anything. If you let her go, she would roundpen herself at a gallop, ears pinned, teeth gritting. -- She had been LONG under a program that was too intense for her in the wrong ways. After a month, in a new program, she turned completely around. The next month, she was a whole different horse and was taken to shows. I might add that the stallion from the same barn who was trained by the same man was a lazy fart and needed the push. And another horse from the same barn was just worried about every little thing you did to him, I had to undo his training and reassure him, and start him from the ground up, like the mare but with more sacking out. You have to alter the program and your methods to each horse--they're all different and respond to things differently, like people.
Keep the spurs off of her. You will have to undo everything, and reteach her, giving her confidence and to help her realize that work isn't something to hate--which she probably does.
I'm not much of a spur person at all, I do not believe in spur training my pleasure horses. Some horses I've trained do need them though, but they are "push" horses--those who do well and listen when pushed.
She may be sensitive enough that a little leg should be fine. If you feel it is neccesary to finish her with spurs, after she's comfortable with a walk/jog/lope and all of her lateral work for a few weeks, put on BLUNT english spurs faced downward. Make sure you give her a warning before you use spurs, if its just a little tap or tightening of your calf muscle. Then gradually work her into western spurs.
Last edited by TheChelseyDee; 10-04-2011 at 04:23 PM.