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A shorter whip takes away all your speed at the end of the whip!! Nooo, go longer, go thinner, go more bite so it hurts more when you DO use it. IF your horse is not lightening up like it should then your maximum disciplinary action is NOT strong enough!

I have had several lazy horses including one pony that was absolutely DEAD to leg aids, no matter what you did he would not go. The kids who rode him before I got him weren't allowed to ride with a whip so the first thing I did was get a crop. Ask lightly with the leg, then firmer, then a tap with the crop, and then I would bring that crop down on that pony's *** so hard I nearly fell off from the force of hitting him. It got better but with the crop I never got past the point of having to use it for a light tap. So I got a dressage whip, the longest and thinnest one I could find, and all of a sudden I didn't even have to put much force into hitting him when he was at his laziest/naughtiest. Didn't take long to soften him up. By the time I sold him, when I had that dressage whip on me all I had to do was touch him with my legs and he would go. But he knew when I didn't have it and wouldn't move unless it was there!

I have used spurs to reinforce my forward leg aids and found it does work, but that was on a horse that I couldn't use a whip on because he would bolt. I would much rather use a whip if possible, it's much more effective.
 

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Horses can feel a fly land on their skin. So unless a horse has nerve damage, they are not numb or dead sided... They have been allowed to get away with not answering leg aids or have not been taught to correctly answer leg aids.

I have a chestnut TB who is quite lazy, however with correct training and appropriate reinforcement of my leg aids, he is becoming a lot more responsive. Spurs are there to reinforce and refine leg aids, they are not for getting more forward or impulsion. If you have a horse that does not respond to leg, do more ground would and ridden work to make hime understand what you are asking.

The method that has worked well for me has been to give the aid (walk, trot, canter, leg yield, whatever), If no response then ask again firmly, if still no response, ask firmly and tap with a whip. I have never had to ask more than 3 times and now I find that it takes him less time to answer as he knows what happens when he ignores me. While learning he got a pat on the neck and a "yaaah, good" from me when he answered correctly. He is now at the stage where just a "yaaah" is a sufficient reward and I rarely need a whip.
Yes but if you are on a lesson horse, or somebody else's horse that isn't your, this may not be within your means to do. And if the owner says "use spurs" then you do what the owner says. I agree that more ground work needs done, but it really depends on the situation.
 

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A shorter whip takes away all your speed at the end of the whip!! Nooo, go longer, go thinner, go more bite so it hurts more when you DO use it. IF your horse is not lightening up like it should then your maximum disciplinary action is NOT strong enough!
Interesting debate, to my mind I don't want to actually hurt my horse, just get his attention, and I can do that with a shorter whip with a popper, believe me a hard bat wakes them up.

Personally I would never use force behind the hit with a long schooling whip, it is designed to be a refining tool, used to touch and direct, not as a punishment.
 

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Interesting debate, to my mind I don't want to actually hurt my horse, just get his attention, and I can do that with a shorter whip with a popper, believe me a hard bat wakes them up.

Personally I would never use force behind the hit with a long schooling whip, it is designed to be a refining tool, used to touch and direct, not as a punishment.
To each their own, I have just found that a crop is ineffective on a lazy horse. I never put all my strength behind my dressage whip unless my horse is ignoring all else. I have had a horse completely ignore a crop no matter what I did with it or how hard I hit her with it, but with a dressage whip, even a tap stings and THAT worked.

Do bear in mind though that the filly I had that ignored a crop altogether is a stubborn extremely dominant witch and even my mother [who owns her now], who has 25 years on me in the experience department and is extremely experienced with lazy horses and gentle ways of perking them up, cannot get this filly to do something she doesn't want to do without a significant amount of demanding.

My system, and Mum's, goes a little like ask, tell, demand, promise, enforce. Depending on how educated the horse is I might skip a step or two but never the ask. My old boy was very lazy, but also very educated, and knew better than to ignore me, so sometimes with him I went straight from ask to enforce [leg aid to hard crack with the dressage whip, on the odd occasion I actually used one, or a hard jab with the spurs]. Never failed to lighten him up for two to three weeks at a time.

I do think it depends a lot on someone's personal experience in the matter. For me, crops are for jumping, and only for use on a horse that's likely to try to stop. I don't even own one anymore, haven't bothered in nearly three years. Short with a popper to make a loud noise, to me, is a warning. There isn't enough bite behind it if you come across a horse that will ignore that warning.
 

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Not the Maximillian? :rofl: Yeah that actually sounds like Max
You got it, GH! Wouldn't change him for the world. All these 'annoying' traits are what contribute to his phenomenal suitability in a plethora of hairy activities! ;p

Opted for warmer boots rather than spurs today and while he still listened to me if coming up on trees on the trail, moving off my leg so as to not rub me, when I needed his *** in the ditch for a passing vehicle, four strides in, he was still ignoring me. I had to pull him in, tripping and stumbling like a tool, rather than a nice lateral coordinated drift in (shallow ditch). Pffft.
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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Wouldn't you rather use a touch of a spur instead of smacking a horse with a dressage whip?
 

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Wouldn't you rather use a touch of a spur instead of smacking a horse with a dressage whip?
That would entirely depend on what I am asking for, and the horse I was asking it of.
 

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Wtwg--I think the other issue here is that spurs are much easier to abuse if your leg is not strong enough/if you are too novice of a rider. Whips are a bit more foolproof.
 

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My opinion on the "abuse" of spurs is that most horses simply wouldn't tolerate it. Certainly there are exceptions im sure. But a lot of riders would end up being a lawn dart if they used their spurs inappropriately....especially a beginner. ;)
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Horses that don't 'go' either had muddy training or too low/onto the forehand/out of balance. So the rider's job is to EDUCATE THE HORSE to the use of the leg. That starts ON THE GROUND. Work the horse in hand, touch the horse where the leg would be (with the hand/with the whip); that touch is PROGRESSIVE. Touching (with the whip) is touch/vibrate/TWACK. Very rarely does the rider have to do that more than a few times and the horse WILL learn.

With a green(er) horse, the noise of a bat on the shoulder WILL send the horse forward, and which point the rider combines that with a touch of the leg. The horse MUST be allowed to come up/open/active (NO 'shaping the horse'/making it rounder yet. For an older horse the whip is used behind the CALF (NOT not on the butt) and the rider must NOT get left behind/grab the mouth/stop the horses reaction. Again, touch/vibrate/thwack. No horse should take more than two or three times to learn that IF the rider's actions are CLEAR.

The spur is NOT for forward, it is for specific action/nuance.
 

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This Topic on spurs seems to have turned more into a discussion of crops/whips:shock:
I seldom use a crop when riding,only really use on a horse that is early in their training & not ready for spurs:D. To enforce my cue to move forward if they are not moving out or off enough from your leg alone. I find the applying the crop to contact were you want can inhibit the rider from keeping there hands & seat correct as well as with keeping your horse correct/straight in their movement. I had to resort to one with my youngster I'm just breaking now. After asking her with my legs if she didn't pick it up a notch got a pop from the crop to wake her & have her move out forward with more effort. Only took a couple reminders not to ignore my leg cues. Next ride she moved out appropriately when ask from just the cues from my leg & seat. I much prefer not fumbling around with some crop:wink:,spurs are much easier to refine cues & apply to the appropriate area. I also show several of my horses & crops are not allowed when riding. Use of whips in schooling on ground fine,but using when riding not my thing:-(
Maybe the use of crops vs spurs tend to follow with the riding styles/discipline:?. Use of spurs are seen more with western riding, crops are basically just seen in your Gymkhana events.Unlike English riding were crops are seen used more.
 

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I agree that spurs seem to be used more with western riding and crops with English. Grew up riding English....only used a crop....as did my riding buddies. Transitioned to Western later in life and now I own me some sparkley spurs.....just like all the other cowgirls....lol. ;)

They think its hysterical that I wear a helmet!! Cant imagine the flack I'd catch if I broke out the crop.....lol
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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Wtwg--I think the other issue here is that spurs are much easier to abuse if your leg is not strong enough/if you are too novice of a rider. Whips are a bit more foolproof.
As I've already said, I am not a "novice" rider. I simply have not used spurs before, for ideological reasons, if you will.
 
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