Tell me about spurs.
I have ridden for the best part of 25 years, but I have never used spurs. So I would like your advise please.
I have a lazy horse who I have to use constant leg on, and he is becoming more dull to my legs requiring more and more. I don't want to nag him or be on him all the time so I would like a little umph so that he does not need the constant hoofs I have to give him.
As far as me, I am in control of my body, I would not be accidentially stabbing him or anything like that.
So a few questions, (apologies if they are stupid)
I assume it is still perfectly easy to use the side of my foot to apply pressure so I am not using the spur all the time?
And what type of spur, I already know I want something gentle, short and stubby. But what else is useful to know when shopping for them?
How much do they move around on your foot if you have spur rests on your boots (which I don't, but I have used my paddock boots for 20 years now, so it is time for a pair of those as well)?
Is it helpful to have the rubber coated ones so they don't slip on your boot? Like this
Dover Saddlery | Rubber Coated Spur .
Or as it is my first spur, should I be looking at something more like a blob like this?
Dover Saddlery | Waterford Spur .
Thanks in advance for your advise and opinions.
I use spurs on all my horses, whether or not they need them.
The spur is meant to be an extension of you foot so that you dont have to put as much effort into kicking & can be subtler with your cues.
It is possible to ride without using them but just using your inside leg/ankle, but they are there if you need a little more encouragement.
Spurs are also meant to encourage lateral movement. Whips are meant for forward movement.
An important MUST with spurs is to make sure you keep your heels down at all times unless giving some sort of direction as you dont want to be bumping your horse by accident.
Also, if you get good spur straps & tie downs, you wont need the rubber ones as they will be held in place ;)
Thank you, I have been riding for a long time, so I don't worry about my heal position or an accidental bump, that just wouldn't happen. It is the more subtle cues that I am looking for.
Can you tell me about good spur straps and ties downs? Does that just mean that they are tight or are some brands better than others?
As for the spurs, the rubber on the side just helps ensure it stays in place even with the straps. I have a pair similar and love them (and yes, I use straps with them).
Alex, these are spur straps: Dover Saddlery | Easiest Spur Straps Yet .
As for brands for straps, I would just look and make sure they are sturdy and keep them well oiled :D
I use leather spur straps. The spur will have two slots on each side of the spur for it to be threaded through. It then would go in the "arch way" of the boot...in front of the heel...then over top of your foot, buckling on top. There is also a webbed spur strap that you can get that are normally less expensive then the leather ones.
The Prince of Wales spur has a few different lengths to it, and I am pretty sure you can get it in a round end or a rectangular end. The round end to me seems a bit less severe then the rectangular ones...but that just how I look at it. LOL.
Right now, I wear only a 1/4" spur, as like you, I had never used a spur before, so wanted something smaller to learn with. To actually get use of the spur...I have to turn my toe out pretty decently to use it.
I had a pair of longer ones that I used on a lazy horse, but it was the first time using spurs....and I felt awkward in them.
I would suggest something like in the top left corner, myself. Very gentle but will roll better on the coat, in my opinion.
So obviously I know little about spurs, hence this thread, but the roller spiky ones look way worse to me, and I don't understand how the rolling action works as I apply leg, and I don't move it or roll it around.
I don't think I would go for something like that, just asking out of interest more than anything else.
Velvets, that's what I imagined, I think I am going to have to learn a new leg position so I actually apply the spur.
Thanks for the info everyone.
This is what I found after wondering what spurs were used for.
Spurs are just more leg. It is a more subtle and easy way to add more leg, especially if a horse is unresponsive. Whips, on the other hand, are more of correction. That sounds bad, but I mean it as in whips are used to give the extra "ummph" if a horse is COMPLETELY unresponsive to any aid, especially for forward.
So, from what I've seen, spur means "More leg" and whip means "Start listening!"
I would recommend a Prince of Wales spur. They have a lot of diversity and come in various lengths. If you have a solid leg you should have no trouble controlling the spur action. You may only have to turn your leg in slightly to use your spurs.
Thank you, I can not imagine using the whip in the way that I just need him to move forward, it would be all the time. I use my whip as a 'listen' to me tool, but if that was for forward movement, it would be every few minutes.
As I seem to specialize in hitting my own leg every time I use a dressage whip I am not keen to use this.
Plus the harder I kick he will move on, so I think I just need more, but I am not wanting to spike the heck out of him, just more of a nudge so he listens.
Thanks for your opinion.
I wasn't going to post on this thread since I never use spurs, but I think this is interesting and I learned a lot from you all.
I found spurs wouldn't stay well on my boot, especially with the half chaps I had, they got in the way. I am sure I just didn't have the right equipment.
I had one experience with a horse that got dull to the leg. He was a warmblood/thbd cross. A very nice horse, but lazy through and through (less he was spooking!). The more I squeezed him to get forward, the more he sucked back. I would be exhausted after a one hour lesson on him.
I took a lesson with a guest instructor once and she pointed out something really interesting about this horse.
She said that he resented the squeezing, and this was common with horses. Squeezing, especially if you find yourself getting further and further back , makes the horse brace up against it and he loses forward momentum in rigidity.
She said, "flutter your ankle against his side". She told me to keep my foot right where it was for posting, and just flutter it from the ankle (keep sole of foot parallet to ground) and back and forth with a little bumping of his side. Liken it to "fluffin up a pillow".
Of course, it wasn't like magic. Rhett didn't suddenly jump to it, Yes Ma'am. He'd been tuning me out for some time, so he had to have the "lesson of the leg". She got on him. (with a whip) asked once with a nudge, once with a flutter and WHAM! laid that whip on him. He jumped 12 feet forward. then, next time she asked once with a light flutter, one tap with a whip and them immediately tap TAp TAPPPPP! and he leaped forward. After that, all it took was the flutter or nudge of the ankle. But , I had to be vigilant to correct him quickly if he was not listening to nudge, flutter. So, the rider gets what they expect. If I expect quick obediance, I will get it, but I have to expect that I will get it and follow through (and be prepared for a possibly scary reaction by horse)
I would be afraid that a horse that can tune out a leg, can tune out a spur if it is used in the same way the leg was used.
That is just my opinion. I think that spurs are for horses that are already forward moving and you want to add refinement , especially with lateral work.
oh , yeah another thing about this lesson of the leg. she said do it from the second you are in the saddle. So, you get on, you ask for him to walk out, he slugs along at snails pace for one or at most two steps. Let him have it!
You are a new YOU! and he has to wake up and join the party.
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