I'd like to hear everyones opinions on spurs, why do you use them? Just a training aid or do you feel you need them?
I was taught that I had to "earn my spurs", until I had a solid leg and I was able to control a horse properly from my leg aids, my coach gave me first pair of spurs as a "reward", although, I have used them maybe once or twice in Dressage and the Jumper ring, I see a lot of people on here riding with spurs.
I call my spurs 'a crop that's attached to my heel'........
Definitely a training aid, very useful and picking the horse up for collection etc....I don't NEED them, but my rides would sure be exhausting for me without them...could still get it all done but at a sluggish heavy pace....
Refinement of a cue.
I could ride my mare without spurs, but it's not as refined. I would have to give heavier signals.
If I wear spurs, it does not mean I am using them. They are there IF I need them regardless of training level and lightness/responsiveness of the horse.
My reiner is spur-trained, so I ride with them when we do arena work. When we're trail or pleasure riding I leave them off.
I use them in the dressage phase with my eventer as a refining aid.
The way I was taught to use them is that they are an extension of my seat bone-leg-heel. If the horse does not want to move off any of those in sequence, they get a tap with the rowel. I was also taught that if you use them properly once or twice you probably won’t ever need to use them again. However, as I learned, the hard way, just because you never need to use them on a horse, doesn’t mean you can ride the horse without them. I had a horse I hadn’t touched with a spur in years, I figured I didn’t need to wear them one day and he handled like a clapped out school bus with flat tyres, rode him the next day with the spurs and he was back to normal, didn’t go near his sides with them, just having them there was enough.
Mine is spur broke so I always wear them but he has gotten to where I can pretty much do it all with my seat although sometimes I have to press them against his side for the stop
My horse knows the sound of the spurs. If she doesn't hear them she's a pita. She knows I hate kicking her and that my heel is well below her belly. I use them for turning and forward movement. She tends to duck into her circles or turn her nose to the outside, spurs help get her where she should be.
The first 5 posts are pretty much the same way I go about with spurs. If I dont need them, I dont use them. They are just there for a back up cue and to define it. My boy is a dead head to begin with, so I really need that to wake him up sometimes. Just like other things in the horse world, beginners with heavy legs shouldnt have them. Learn to ask 'nicely' first then reinforce it.
I was taught that you have to earn your spurs too. For some reason that really stuck with me, even though I have been riding for most of my 36 years. There's always improvements that can be made, so I only started riding with them about a year or so ago.
Immediately I realized what an idiot I was for not using them much sooner. I suppose that I didn't put any thought into the fact that you don't need to engage the spur, even if you are wearing them. Now I always ride with them.
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