starting a horse using spurs
We went a looked at a beautiful 2-yr-old mare yesterday. She just finished 60 days of training. She is absolutely gorgeous. Doc Bar/Docs Hickory bloodline.
Anyway, the problem was that when we rode her in the round pen, she would NOT lope with leg pressure. We would kick, smooch, lean forward, even pop her neck with the reins, and all she would do was trot.
Then, the owner said that the trainer used spurs when training her for those 60 days.
I didn't think that was a good idea. I thought that a horse should be trained to respond to your leg pressure, or a slight kick of the heels. I thought spurs would be a last resort for a stubborn or lazy horse, not for a 2-yr-old in training.
Oh, and since she has been started this way, if my friend decides to buy her, how can she break this? What should she do to get her to respond to simple leg pressure rather than needing spurs?
first off. IMO 2 years old is WAY too young to be riding a horse...that can lead to some serious leg problems when she gets older. Poor girl
I'd say the best thing to do is first ride with the spurs, but not sure them....so she knows they are there, but just don't use them.
Then slowly adjust her to not having them.
If she won't even respond to having them on but not using them...I'd say do some of the Parelli games with her. Especially the porcupine and driving game, sideways game, and ones like that. It will help her know what to do.
The boots that I have has a tiny little rubber knob that I take is supposed to be a "built in spur" (not sure though) so maybe working with the filly for a month with spurs just to get her to respect you, then switching to the boots with a "built in spur" (if that's exactly what it is....it's tall rubber english style boots....pain in the butt to get off, but they are fairly nice), and then after she responds good to that, use regular boots
I suggest if your friend really likes the horse and wants it otherwise, use spurs. It's not as if they'll hurt her or anything, as long as they are used properly. Spurs are an aid and are used to be more precise, though like you said, some horses need them as a bit of encouragement.
If your friend decides to get the horse, she could ride her with spurs, but just use ones with very short shanks. Sort of 'graduate' her down from whatever was being used on her - get ones that are rounded and then just keep getting less and less.
I personally wouldn't mind, as I ride my horse with spurs except for trail riding, as I don't need them.
I was working with a filly at the ranch that was 2 1/2, and she is definitely not ready to be ridden. She is almost 3 now, and is finally filling out and developing enough that she is about ready to mount.
So, I know some horses need to be older.
(kind of a rant).......
I totally agree with SonnyWimps, I don't think a 2 year old is a good age to ride considerable. Start yes, not prolonged training and riding. I bought a Mare who had just turned 3 she had 90 days of professional training and the girl who owned her said she had done trail riding and team penning with her. After we bought her she was bred with my stallion and wasn't riden more than a few times. Today at ten years old she has arthritis in her leg joints I am possitive it was caused from her being ridden too much as a two year old and yes she was well built and filled out , still she was not fully developed bone wise or muscle wise.I learned the hard way as when I bought her I thought she had been ridden as a three year old but found out later, when I got her papers that she had to have been only two as she had just turned 3 a few days before we bought her. she is a great mare and I love her dearly, but I hate to see a horse suffer just because some people couldn't wait another year/. Ok I will jump of my soap box now!!
There's a mare that I used to ride...she's 10 and she has ad arthritis for as long as I could remember...the vet thought it was because she was started too early.
Just thought you might want to know because your friend could have problems later with the horse not being sound.
But I'd say, if at all possible, ride without spurs.
My babies are all LIGHTLY ridden at 2 1/2 after 6 months of lunge work, and ground work as a yearling. This horse probably won't canter because she's not comfortable doing it and carrying weight. My babies do not canter until they are 3. If this horse has been "cowboyed" and rushed you're getting in to a bigger problem than you may think. I could reconsider unless this horse is "the one"
When you say the horse is 2, is it a long 2 or just turned 2? Most Thoroughbred and Quarter Horses in the performance arena are started at 2 years old and many race horses are run before they are really 3. Is it right? That is highly debatable but it is not uncommon.
As far as using spurs, they are only an aid, the same as leg pressure. Have you ever watched a Cutting Horse Futurity as an example? You may have million dollar horses, some that are barely 3, being ridden to the extreme and with spurs. How about a Jumper or a Dressage horse? Ever see one in real competition without spurs? Perhaps rarely, but as a rule, always with spurs. Spurs are no more harsh then a riding crop.
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