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Sphi 05-24-2010 06:39 AM

Riding properly with spurs
I've recently started riding a horse who requires spurs. I haven't ridden him since last August, so I'm having a lot of trouble getting used to the spurs and riding properly with them. I was hoping several months of building up my leg on other horses would help but now that I'm back on him, all my old problems are resurfacing.

It seems like every time I turn my toe out to use my spur, my foot slips out of the stirrup or too far into it. Maybe it's just that I can't keep weight in my heel when I'm trying to get the spur against him, or maybe I'm pinching with my knee... I don't know. Any ideas? Suggestions?


wild_spot 05-24-2010 06:49 AM

What type of spur do you use? What are you using them for?
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Sphi 05-24-2010 08:31 AM

They're really small nubs, like 1/4 inch I think. I'm using them because he doesn't listen to just leg very much.

maura 05-24-2010 09:41 AM


If you're going to wear a spur, I prefer a longer one, for exactly the reasons you're encountering. You should not have to distort your leg position to engage the spur. You are wearing the correct length spur when a extra hard squeeze or a *slight* toe out movement engages the spur. Doesn't sound like that's happening in your case.

This is, of course, assuming that your leg is stable and controlled enough to only engage the spur when you want to.

It might be helpful if your posted a photo of you and the horse. The horse's conformation, and where your leg falls on the horse's side, influences your choice of spur as well. So a spur length or shape that works for one rider might not work for another rider on the same horse.

Sphi 05-24-2010 09:55 AM

This is a picture from last summer. I ride 1 or 2 holes longer now I think, as I've grown a bit.. :P

And another angle:

(blurred face is a parental rule, lol..)

maura 05-24-2010 10:01 AM

Thanks! (I support that parental rule, btw)

Try a 3/4 inch Prince of Wales -

Ladies' Prince Of Wales Spur - Dover Saddlery.

You may have to work a little to keep from engaging the spur accidently; but again, your goal is to be able to use the spur without twisting or lifting your leg.

wild_spot 05-24-2010 05:44 PM

I agree with Maura - I ride in swan neck rowelled spurs and I only have to lift my heel a small amount to engage the spur. If I wear dummy spurs I have to turn my whole foot as my horse isn't very big.

maura 05-25-2010 07:34 PM

Thanks for the photos. You look like a solid rider with a good foundation and a good working position. I think you may have a little learning curve with a longer spurs but that ultimately they will help your horse's responsiveness and allow you to maintain position.

Sphi 05-25-2010 07:46 PM

Thanks for the advice everyone! I'm going to see how it goes at my lesson tomorrow and if I'm still having trouble I'm going to talk to my instructor about getting longer spurs. :)

riccil0ve 05-26-2010 10:44 AM

Just be aware that longer spurs will be more harsh in an unsteady leg than nubs.

I have little nubs, and I have to move my toe out maybe an inch to engage the spur. I have never found it to be a problem as long as I keep my heel down down down.

Honestly, I think the root of this problem is your heels, not the type of spur. If you work on keeping your heels down always, the problem will be fixed. =]

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