Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Canberra Australia
One of the best cow horses I ever had was a buckskin quarter horse I called Lumphead, he had a bulgy forehead for some reason so the name seemed appropriate. Anyway, Like all my horses I hackamore trained him, and he was a work horse, so we'd be working cattle all day in all sorts of country and he was exceptional. He had a problem though, and it wasn't his fault. The day he was weaned the guy who was in the yard with him that opened the gate to let his mum out and stop him from following her, as he naturally tried to do, slammed the gate on his neck to stop him following his mum. Ever after that he had two vertical indentations in the sides of his neck just up from his shoulders and he had a really stiff neck. So, though he could move like lightning, it was kind of weird till you got used to it because there was little flexion, he just couldn’t do it real well because whatever the gate slam in the neck did stiffened up his neck, so he was kind of like driving a cab over truck. Anyway, as I was getting him going, (I was the only one who ever rode him till he was quite old) I found the only way to really get him to move his front end was with spurs. Now as I say that I mean I always started off giving them the benefit of the doubt and didn’t use them unless they told me I might need them, And with something like spurs, you use them once or twice properly, you wont need them ever again. BUT. After a few years of him going good, and I mean real good, and me never going near him with more than my seat bone let alone a spur I figured it was time to take them off because he had shown me he didn’t need them, they had become little more than a decoration. We were getting ready to go mustering for the day and my uncle (who was managing the station I was working on at the time) noticed I jumped on Lumphead without spurs and said to me “he'll play up if you don't wear spurs on him” Well I thought I knew better and pointed out how I hadn’t gone near him with the spur in a few years; and away we went. The best way to describe how he went that day was like if you imagine you were trying to drive a motorised shopping trolley with wonky wheels and the brakes half on all day. I hay have well have done the days work on foot for all the dammed horse was worth. We were mustering the next day too so as his punishment I decided to ride him the next day too, but this time with spurs, which I was prepared to use. I didn’t even need to go past my seat bones and he would spin like a top. The point is. Use the once or twice properly and you may well never need them again, but a horse isn’t stupid and they will know if you haven’t got them on and can, and may well take full advantage of you not having them on. Having said all that thought, I wouldn’t be letting beginners use them, then you will end up with a dead sided horse. And besides a quirt smack on the bum is a better way to get them forward than spurs, think of spurs as sideways things.