At what stage are spurs helpful?
I've been wondering about this a lot lately... at what point in a horse and/or riders training are spurs helpful and at what stages would you consider them necessary(if you do)? I don't feel that my leg is nearly stable enough to use them and seeing that I currently school nothing higher than intro I have no need for them.
I've seen some people use them during a horses first ride and some that don't start until the horse is 1st level. Would they be used in the beginning of a horses training to make aids clearer or have them as back up if the horse isn't responding? Theoretically, spurs are for refinement and advanced communication, so I'm a bit confused as to why someone would ride a green horse in them(not trying to criticize, just honestly wondering).
Spurs should not be anywhere near a rider who cannot keep their leg still, and is not aware of where their leg is at any given time.
As far as when spurs should be introduced in a horse's education, I introduce spurs when a horse starts lateral work. They should not be used as a driving aid as such, they are a refining aid to what is already established.
Okay, that makes more sense. I definitely get that a rider needs complete control over their legs at all times to use them, just didn't know when it would really be essential for properly directing the horse.
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Spurs certainly aren't essential, I tend to only use them a couple of times each week to sharpen responses in the later work.
I think it would probably depend more on the individual horse when it comes to training levels. Some horses are super responsive to leg, others not. i know a horse who would flip sh*t if you even touched her with spurs because shes SO very sensative to leg.
As for my boy, he knows the basics. walk, jog, lope, turn, back. I started useing spurs on him when he started to egnore my leg, and when i started lateral work.I dont touch him with them unless i need them. if i put on leg, and he decides to egnore it, i lightly touch him with them. kinda like a "hey, when i put on leg, i mean it, and i mean it now. and i will back it up". iv never jabed him with them, and i hate seeing people do it. makes my ribs hurt! lol but thats just I.M.O
I dont think a rider should rely souly on spurs though, if you need your spurs for everything, even simple things, you need to take a few steps back to ther basics.
IMO as long as the RIDER has quiet legs and control over them, it doesn't actually matter when you start wearing spurs on a horse.
The only reason that I'm aware of why you wouldn't want to introduce them to a young horse is that in the FEI 4 Year Old test you must ride without spurs. After that, go crazy (within the limits of the level you want to show in).
I think any rider with a quiet leg should be able to get on any horse with even a large spur and not have an issue. Just because you're wearing them doesn't mean you're using them. They are simply meant to quiet the leg by refining the aids. Even a hot horse is sometimes better with MORE leg and a spur than trying to ride without leg at all.
Kayty and Anabel ar both correct - I NEVER wear spurs on a green horse - green horses tend to do silly things (more than higher trained horses) and I know when a horse bolts forward I tend to grab with my legs when startled and that could end up unintentionally jabbing the horse with the spurs. So I never wear spurs with a green horse.
The rider MUST have quiet legs whcih can act independently of the seat if they want to ride with spurs. And as Anabel mentioned, you do not have to use spurs just because you wear them. I ride Third level and wear spurs all the time, but usually I do not have to use them. Like the whip spurs are used when needed - using too often "dulls" the horse to the leg (and spur), the same can be said for using the whip too often.
I started wearing spurs when schooling second level - when the serious lateral work began.
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