Do I need spurs?

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Do I need spurs?

This is a discussion on Do I need spurs? within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    06-21-2009, 03:07 AM
Do I need spurs?

I currently don't use spurs. My horse when I got him had real power steering and I rode mainly with my legs and hardly used my reins. I have had him four months.
The guy who I bought him off used spurs on him, he was a professional horse man. Now my touch control power steering (legs) is not quite as sensitive. Is this to do with the fact that I don't use spurs. I'm very gentle with my hands and he has a very soft mouth so I want to keep it that way. A friend of mine a canadian rancher did say when I got him I needed spurs. Any thoughts guys?
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    06-21-2009, 04:45 AM
Green Broke
If he isn't paying attencion to you like he use to or not getting your clues, go ahead. I really like spurs; they are a very effective aid when used properly. Make sure that you don't kick him with them though; just poke him. It's like poking someone on the back so they pay attencion.
    06-21-2009, 06:31 AM
Thanks for your reply. So which design would be the softest?
    06-21-2009, 08:21 AM
Originally Posted by yankee doodle    
Thanks for your reply. So which design would be the softest?
There are various spur designs and various rowel (the round part of a western spur) designs.

Barrel spurs clip onto the heel and have soft "bumps" on the inside. That is probably the softest spur you can find.

Moving up from that, there are "english" spurs. Instead of a rowel, they usually have a small round ball at the end.

Up from that is a western spur, which has a rowel that turns.

From what you describe, the previous owner most likely used a western spur. If you are going that route, you might try looking for a "cloverleaf" type of rowel. That has no spikes or sharp edges.

For a good picture, see:

Rowels - Smith Brothers

From the pictures, you can see how something like the twelve point is less soft.
    06-22-2009, 02:18 AM
Great reply and thanks for the link.
    06-22-2009, 10:58 AM
I personally think that it's better to strengthen your leg instead of going towards the spurs.
Your horse can get sour if the spurs are used the wrong way, and sometimes it can get your leg to become lazy and work improperly. Just my opinion though.
    06-22-2009, 11:25 AM
Hello =]
I use spurs on my contesting pony for 2 things; to lengthen his stride and to get him to turn better. It keeps him focused too. The reason the man whom you bought your horse from may have been using spurs to help him bend or something along those lines. I think it is worth a shot at trying them. I use a tinny 3/4 inch square base spur english riders use and that's plenty. Make sure when you use them though you keep you heel down and squeese. If my pony does not listen to that, I poke him once or twice, just to get his attention back. Like I said, its worth a try =].
    06-22-2009, 12:07 PM
Originally Posted by Picture Perfect    
I personally think that it's better to strengthen your leg instead of going towards the spurs.
Your horse can get sour if the spurs are used the wrong way, and sometimes it can get your leg to become lazy and work improperly. Just my opinion though.
On the flip side of that, your horse can become dull and desensitized from having too strong a leg used. If she just keeps using a stronger and stronger leg, eventually that leg isn't going to be able to get any stronger. In this case, I think spurs would be appropriate to refine her cue and to also give her horse a little wake-up. If he wakes up and starts responding lightly again, she can always take them off. There's no rule saying you have to use one thing 100% of the time.
    06-22-2009, 12:24 PM
(Responce to Above Post)
Exactly! My horse does not listen to leg AT ALL unless I have spurs on. I also rotate rides, one with spurs and the next without. That's something to think about doing.
    06-23-2009, 05:05 AM
Thanks guys that sounds like a good plan to rotate the use. My friend who does a lot of dressage uses spurs and says its like poking your horse in back. When I ride I ride with a lot of legs and prefer not to have much mouth contact, I can get some good circles on him only using leg pressure. I have a interest in natural horsemanship techniques, so have never used spurs, but I want to keep his abilities that his previous trainer has given him. It would be a shame for the sharpness to go.
I will give the rotation of use a go, or even do some arena work in some one a week.

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