Should I buy spurs? What spurs would work?
I honestly don't really like the idea of using spurs. However I have been put in a couple situations recently where I was put on a horses that were trained with spurs and due to the fact that I did not own a pair my riding was terrible because their sides were so tough and they were so stubborn and I was so nervous I could not get them to get past a trot.
I do not own a horse but I take lessons. If I am put on a lesson horse that is not responding without issue they give me a crop and tell me to whack the horse. So I suppose if there are spurs out there that have the same effect as a crop effect of just giving that little extra incentive without stabbing them then I guess I'd try that. I know there are rolling spurs that are balls on the end not spikes. What about those?
I don't want to get in the habit of using spurs, once I get my own horse I don't plan on depending on them to make my horse walk/trot/jog. But seeing as I do plan on trying to become more diverse in my riding technique etc why not get a pair. I just want to buy the right kind and ones that are not too crazy.
I was looking at a roller Waterford spur, round end spur, and a roller rowelled spur.
When used properly, spurs are not at all harsh.
Unless you have good control of your legs and heels then spurs are not for you. They are not to punish but add finesse. A crop is still your best bet for the horse that won't listen. Usually one good what wakes it up and then it starts to pay attention. After that just moving it seems to inspire.
Spurs are for refinement of a cue. They are NEVER to be used for speed. They make it so you can give a quieter cue. You only have to lightly touch with a spur, whereas you have to press with more pressure with just your heel. They can feel the change in your heel position easier with them, and there's more reinforcement. You are always to ride with a stable leg, and ask with your calf before your spur. Unless you have a solid leg, they are not a good choice for you. They will make a horse dull.
I ride horses 100% of the time in spurs. Even my first ride, the colts get spurs. Doesn't mean I have to use them. I was not allowed spurs however until I was older and stable enough to use them.
As far as the type of spur, I was started with a ball point spur. Now rowels, just a little ball to mess with. I now use a small clover rowel spur, mainly. I have other pairs but those are my favorites. You could also try a mild bumper spur (Without rowels). Most of all though, I would talk to your instructor and see what they think of the idea.
As said by SorrelHorse, spurs aren't for "go" they're for refinement and subtlety.
Spurs, like bits, are only as harsh as the people that use them. As you're nervous about pushing for the trot as is I don't think it would be a good idea to move to spurs. Learn how to push and ride a horse with leg and seat well before moving up to spurs.
Keep in mind these horses you ride haven't been "trained" with spurs, they've likely been ruined by them.
learn how to ride without spurs first! like was said, if used correctly spurs really aren't for forward motion so much as lateral movement. Example would be bending the horses body or moveing the hind quarters over to pick up a specific lead into a lope. It allows the leg to be moved very little and in a specific way to make the cues more distigushable for the horse. Not just kick and go faster.
The way I think of it is walk up to a freind and press the heel of your hand to their shoulder and odds are they will just move away from you hand. No real control there other than a general direction. Now take your pointer finger and move their shoulder but now move it just a little bit forward and they will feel it and move their shoulder away and back. Move you finger just alittle back from the center and they will slide their shoulder forward and away. The cue you are giving is much more direct and easier to understand than just a big old heel on the shoulder or in the horses side. And all without any pain, and odds are they won't lean on you either. Just like a horse will learn not to lean on your supporting leg with spurs vs. without. I hope that made sense.
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