Perhaps your assuming that im beating my horse? The statement did sound a bit rough, but trust me I don't "stab my horse with my spurs" I give him pressure with the spurs and pop him in the but with the crop. Nothing more nothing less. I don't abuse the aids I use with a horse. Iv always ridden him with spurs, and he did not start rearing untill I introduced new horses. And no he is not starting to spook when I grip my legs I am very light with my legs. Aswell as everything else. I don't like a horse that is "dull sided" like my pervious show horse so I do everything I can to keep him light and responsive. Sounds as if your biased against spurs? But then again that's the impression im getting from your post, just like the bad impression you got from mine. Riding aids are only as harsh as the rider. And trust me I am certainly not harsh with my aids. I don't see why a pop in the butt with a crop and pressure with spurs is such a horrible thing.
Trust me, I will use aids when needed, I'm not biased to anything artificial aid. On the other hand if it's not needed or I'm reading what you're dishing out correctly I guess you could say I am a bit "biased".
So let me get this correct, You are taking an already flighty, herd bound horse, that "rears", "freaks", "paces", and "sweats" (all your words) and using spurs and a crop to try and get his attention? The only reason why horses get "dull sided" is because people don't learn how to correctly give and take away pressure. If you're always putting the pressure on and never releasing it the horse will get numb to your leg cues. Using spurs on a horse that obviously doesn't listen to you in the first place is a huge no,no. All you're doing is making the experience worse. It's not like what you're describing is an old 20y/o lesson horse that is lazy and needs a crop or spurs every now and again..
When your horse walks passed that gate, you don't kick him with your spurs and smack him with the crop to try and regain is attention, that screams poor riding skills; A disaster waiting to happen. You have always ridden him with spurs? Might I ask why you feel you need them on a horse like what you're describing? Have you ever ridden him without spurs or is it just something you think makes your outfit look better? In the beginning if all you do is keep putting pressure on, esp with spurs all you're doing is making the horse numb, so later on in his riding life you will need to have more and more of the pressure.
A five year old horse shouldn't have to be ridden with spurs AND a crop already.. something is wrong here.