View Full Version : Stick, spurs, both or nothing?

Come Shine
May. 28, 2011, 07:27 PM
When you ride do you carry a stick, put on spurs, both or nothing?

May. 28, 2011, 07:38 PM
Spurs, but on my current ride just tiiiiny little ones :)

Hawks Nest
May. 28, 2011, 07:47 PM
my current horse it is both because he is big and lazy. They are rolly spurs though so fairly gentle and the stick is really only to get his attention when jumping. On most other horses I don't school with spurs though, only show with them.

May. 28, 2011, 09:11 PM
It depends on the horse. I wear spurs much more often then I carry a stick when I'm just flatting. Over fences I will often have both.

May. 28, 2011, 09:17 PM
When I am schooling at home it really depends on the horse but I usually always have spurs on. When showing I always carry a stick and have spurs. Might as well go in with all your options

May. 28, 2011, 09:35 PM
I always prefer to have a stick/whip and not need it, than to not have one and wish I did!

Spurs I have mixed feelings about. I have used them (small ones) in the past, and use them at shows because hey, the show environment can make anyone horse OR human want to suck back and turn tail at some point :winkgrin: so I definitely think they have their place. But at home I really aim to train the horse to give an honest forward without anything but the aids from my body, to actively be listening, and to respond enthusiastically when asked. I find that when that foundation is properly instilled, the spurs become more of a back-up rather than a necessity. They find their impulsion & realize that giving it willingly is a LOT more pleasant than being poked & nagged at.

May. 28, 2011, 09:55 PM
Depends on the horse... I'm riding other people's horses currently, so it depends on the day :)

One horse is biiiiggg and super lazy, but really reacts badly to the stick, so I need big spurs just to get him to move.

One horse goes with nothing- he's an OTTB and would probably flip out.

My sister's horse- depends on the day. I used to carry a stick with her, but now I usually don't need anything. If she needs a "tune up" day I'll wear baby spurs, just for a little extra.

May. 28, 2011, 10:07 PM
Dressage whip. Spurs are better, but thin skinned mare gets rubs if you use them AT ALL, and so we just deal with the whip. But I wish I could ride her in spurs, and mare does too.

May. 28, 2011, 10:12 PM
Dressage whip. Spurs are better, but thin skinned mare gets rubs if you use them AT ALL, and so we just deal with the whip. But I wish I could ride her in spurs, and mare does too.

I have a ridiculously thin skinned horse who is also the laziest horse I've ever seen. And I swear he gets rubs if you look at him funny. My trainer bought this pad from Beval that extends down really far and has leather patches where your heels/spurs are. Keeps him from getting rubs, but he can still feel the spur. I highly recommend it.

War Admiral
May. 28, 2011, 10:17 PM
My right leg is so darn crippled nowadays that for me personally, nowadays, I don't trust my legs with spurs. So I voted stick, although "both" would be my preferred answer if I were still a half-capable rider. :(

May. 28, 2011, 10:19 PM
1/4 inch spurs when flatting, both when jumping. I'd like to get the rolly ball spurs, but I can't find them around here.

May. 28, 2011, 10:23 PM
I always wear spurs (the little nub ones), but rarely use them. I've thought about not wearing them, but it's now a habit, and it's really nice to have them when I need them. I haven't carried a crop in years.

May. 28, 2011, 10:28 PM
I like a good crop on almost everything I ride. Although, current horse only gets a stick somedays because it worries him. He's getting to the point I'm starting to use the stick without terrifying him, just a quick flick in his vision for now.

For most horses, I use a crop every ride. I hate nagging at a horse to get them going, so a big pop on the ass gets their attention quite nicely :D A smack on my leg or their butt when they get sucked back to a jump gives them a shot of confidence coming to the jump.

I will say I like a solid, thick, preferrably short crop. I find these have the best balance and give a much better thwack then those thin whippy jumper and dressage whips. I don't want the stinging or whipping, I like the solid sound a crop gives. IMO the sound does as much or more then the actual hit, which is why I hit the saddle or my leg if a solid smack isn't needed.

Hawks Nest
May. 28, 2011, 10:47 PM
I will say I like a solid, thick, preferrably short crop. I find these have the best balance and give a much better thwack then those thin whippy jumper and dressage whips. I don't want the stinging or whipping, I like the solid sound a crop gives. IMO the sound does as much or more then the actual hit, which is why I hit the saddle or my leg if a solid smack isn't needed.
This. Roma makes a wonderful crop, easy to hold, fairly short, and about 1in of leather on the end, two flaps of it that clap together very well. *love* it

May. 28, 2011, 11:31 PM
I voted for nothing. (Not judging anyone who does)

I've ridden all types of horses/ponies that have supposedly needed something or another. I also admit to having used these devices, before.

However, the best trainers I've worked with have taught me how to ride horses, that would typically need some kind of artificial aide, but ride and work with them in such a way that I ended up needing nothing but good, old fashioned training! Oh, and lots of patience, of course! :)

May. 28, 2011, 11:46 PM
Main horse is ridden with nothing- ottb who doesn't need to be getting any funny ideas. On my last main horseypoo I had both big honking spurs and a crop.
I ride in whatever my trainer suggests, as most of them are her horses.
I didn't own a pair of spurs until that last horse. I've gone for the same crop for at least 6 years. Short, thick jumping bat with the leather hand-shaped popper on the end. My second favorite style is similar, with the two square leather flaps that make a heck of a loud pop, as mentioned. But I'm worried that hand style will be hard to find next time I am shopping, so I always buy 3 or so at a time :-)

May. 28, 2011, 11:53 PM
usually nothing, but the occasional bat for just the thought.

Behind the 8 Ball
May. 28, 2011, 11:56 PM
I wear the spurs all the time and pick up the whip on the way into the arena but lately, I find I rarely ever use them except on on e bratty 5 yo. Habit I guess.

May. 29, 2011, 01:31 AM
Usually one or the other, but rarely both at the same time on one of my boys. He tends to start to ignore each of them after a couple months, so I have to swap out. My other guy thinks his world is ending and just wants to lay down and cry in his cheerios if either are used, so I don't use either on him. And he has absolutely no need for them so it really doesn't matter.

May. 29, 2011, 01:40 AM
Spurs on everything in my current barn. I ride sale horses, who are either a) huge or b) lazy. I'm 5'1'' so I need the spurs even on the forward 17hander just to have him feel my aids. And then with the lazy ponies getting a tune up, its just easier to not have to take them off! I rarely carry a crop, except at shows.

May. 29, 2011, 02:23 AM
Usually just spurs but don't generally need to use them. I sometimes carry a dressage whip as it can be used to open the neighbors remote gate button without getting off.

May. 29, 2011, 10:07 AM
Both most of the time. Too easy to get bad habits started around the course at a show or serious lesson/clinic/schooling session and way to easy to correct them before they get started compared to after the fact. Just hacking out or a casual flat I would either use nothing or just the spurs

I dunno, I never heard them descibed as "gadgets" before, just extensions of the exsisting aids in the case of the spur and a little back up with the stick-if the horse is broke to accept the aids and the rider advanced enough to control them, there should be no problem.

May. 29, 2011, 10:14 AM
I always ride with both. The crop doubles as a magic wand which I like to use when chatting with my friends :lol::rolleyes:

I hardly need the crop, but I like it there when I need it, just like my running martengale... 98% of the time completely not needed for the mare, but that 2% of the time I do need it is why its always a part of our gear when jumping!

When flatting I use a whip instead of a crop.

May. 29, 2011, 10:32 AM
For everyday riding it depends on my moodiness, and the particular horse. I voted both. I often have spurs on my feet (big 1 inch ones), because my jumper mare goes in them, and I try to ride her first or I run out of time each day. I end up riding everything on my list with them. Just because they are on doesn't mean I am jabbing them all in the ribs.

I do not walk into the showring without both, what if you need it? My stick is also my good luck charm, it was a gift from DH, lovely and unique.

Everyone should know how to carry and use a bat. Spurs get tricky, we had a quiet old pro eq horsey here for a couple fo years, we would only only go forward off the spur, he taught some bad bad bad habits. I am a little picky about teaching the intermiediate riders to wear spurs, but a stick all the way.

May. 29, 2011, 11:07 AM
Remember the old saying "You have to earn your spurs"?

Used to be you were not allowed them until you got strong enough to keep your leg still and if a rider had horse trouble with them, it was assumed the rider had not earned them yet.

Not very PC though.

May. 29, 2011, 12:35 PM
My other guy thinks his world is ending and just wants to lay down and cry in his cheerios if either are used, so I don't use either on him.


May. 29, 2011, 01:01 PM
I regard it as a failure in training if I need to use either, will ride with both, but very rarely use either.

May. 29, 2011, 01:12 PM
Remember the old saying "You have to earn your spurs"?

Used to be you were not allowed them until you got strong enough to keep your leg still and if a rider had horse trouble with them, it was assumed the rider had not earned them yet.

Not very PC though.

That's kind of how my trainer feels. She's a much bigger fan of crops. Now that I think about it, all our riders who use spurs also carry crops.

I usually don't use anything on my horse, but if I do 90% of the time it's spurs only (OTTB who used to have a meltdown if I used a crop but is getting better).

May. 29, 2011, 02:40 PM
Depends on the horse. I try not to use anything at home if I don't have to, because I don't like them to get dead to the spur. There's a couple I wear little spurs or motivators on if they're being extra lazy. I generally don't carry a stick. Sometimes when I show (depending on the horse), but almost never at home. There's only one of mine that shows with both.

May. 29, 2011, 03:17 PM
You need an "other" option.

It all depends on which one of my horses I'm on and what time of year it is.

Jumper 1:
-Flat: Dressage whip and hammerheads
-Fences: Crop and Thom Thumbs

Jumper 2:
-Flat and Fences: NOTHING (he'd murder you otherwise)

Jumper 3:
-Flat: "Baseball Bat" style dressage spurs (extra long and rounded) and rarely a dressage whip (mostly used to catch his hip, not to encourage forward motion)
-Fences: Miniature Thom Thumbs or nothing

Hunter 1:
-Flat and Fences: Comfort roller spurs (the metal ones) and a long bat

Hunter 2:
-Flat: Ladies side spurs in the summer, nothing in the winter, rarely a small bat
-Fences: Thom Thumbs or nothing

Hunter 3:
-Flat: Thom Thumbs and a crop
-Fences: Crop

May. 29, 2011, 03:28 PM
Always have both, rarely use either. When you need a stick or a spur is not the time to dismount and go get them....

Exception is for foxhunting, going forward is never an issue in the hunt field!

Come Shine
May. 29, 2011, 03:52 PM

I need to get back into the mindset that it's better to have them and not need them, than to need them and not have them. Where I am is mostly pleasure riders, so rarely (ever?) see anyone with spurs or a stick, and I have gotten out of the habit of getting dressed for the party.

I have the roller ball spurs and an assortment of crops, so no excuses why I can't spend an extra five minutes putting the spurs on and picking up a stick. Kind of like putting my half-chaps on, I suppose.

May. 29, 2011, 08:27 PM
Both. I don't use them all the time, but I have them if I need them.

May. 29, 2011, 08:39 PM
when jumping, my feeling is that you should always come prepared. Just because I wear spurs and carry a crop doesn't mean I ever need to use them in a schooling session or show.

Obviously, I'd re-evaluate the use of spurs for anyone who did not have the control needed of their own body to not accidentally jab their horse, but otherwise there's no excuse to come to the jump ring unprepared!

May. 29, 2011, 08:47 PM
Stick every time I ride, never worn spurs (former nickname- "hangs on with her heels"). Don't use the stick that often and have decided to drop it a few times. On my friend's field hunters- nothing!

May. 29, 2011, 09:17 PM

My horse loves to jump but as far as riding on the flat goes, I like to refer to him as a minimum wage employee: he knows exactly how hard he has to try to not lose his job.

Give and Take
May. 29, 2011, 09:30 PM
always a stick, length depends on flat work or jumping. prefer to school o/f without spurs so that i can use the stick behind my leg if i'm not getting a quick enough response.

schooling bigger fences (3'6" and over) i use both...

May. 29, 2011, 09:42 PM
Dressage whip only :)

May. 29, 2011, 10:01 PM
I never carry a crop, but wear spurs on everything. I was taught very young to make it come from your leg, always!

May. 29, 2011, 10:37 PM
I never take my spurs off. Can't say I use them all that often as I am all leg (6') but they are super nice to have when I need them. You never know when you're gonna get stuck in the middle of a gymnastics!

A stick usually. Always a little one when jumping unless we're making a video and sometimes a dressage whip when flatting the "special" ones :)

Hunter Mom
May. 29, 2011, 10:58 PM
Once in a great while I use a stick with my boy. When he's totally asleep and I want forward. It usually takes about 2 fences to find his forward (with me simply holding it, never actually using it) and I end up dropping it. He gets worried if I carry one much longer. Spurs are totally unnecessary on him - he'super sensitive to the leg.

I used to carry a stick on Mare, but it was always in my right hand as she had left turn issues and wanted to blow through my leg. It helped a little with that issue. DD doesn't carry one on her now - we'd rather she stayed a tad less forward with her.

That said, i have both spurs and sticks in my locker, handy for whenever they are needed.

May. 30, 2011, 02:18 AM
i prefer not have to use either.but i carry a whip,ven if i don't need it..and i have never had to wear/use spurs.
so in general i voted whip even if i don't use it.

May. 30, 2011, 02:25 AM
Less is more in my book so I aim for nothing. But my current OTTB (yep... hes soooo wild :lol:) is lazy on the flat especially in the humidity so I use mini nub spurs (I think they're called baby prince of wales? maybe?) because that tends to get (and hold) his attention better than just the crop. But I have the crop just in case I need a "hello?! pay attention! thanks" wake up call!

May. 30, 2011, 09:43 AM
Spurs AND a whip. At all times. Dressage whip for flat work and shorty for jumping. I gave up trying to get a response without spurs on my mare.

May. 30, 2011, 10:00 AM
Spurs only for daily rides. At shows, spurs and stick until I'm confident he's past the possible refusing stage. Crops freak him out, so I only use one when necessary.

Sing Mia Song
May. 30, 2011, 04:29 PM
Spurs on almost everything, except the jumper. I'd be flying like Superman if I used spurs on Ricky. Instead, I carry a stick, which is just for threatening purposes when he thinks he might want to buck. I just poke it out into his line of sight and he straightens right up. :winkgrin:

May. 30, 2011, 05:42 PM
I use both on my old jumper (retiring to be a trail horse or a kid's schoolmaster, he's grown older and doesn't know his limits lol), but absolutely nothing on my OTTB jumper project/prospect. If I even held a stick when riding him, I'm pretty sure he'd think I was mad at him and have a complete meltdown because he'd be so upset at himself lol. Not like he's a complete people-pleaser or anything :rolleyes:. However, if I rode without a stick and spurs on my older guy (he CAN be ridden without either, if you want a workout haha) he'd basically be like, "ooh, you want a challenge? Well b!tch, that's what you're about to get!" and decide that he could no longer move laterally or really at all. He really only needs the spurs, the stick was more a last resort, but if you didn't carry it you'd end up needing it.

May. 31, 2011, 02:36 AM
Both...but I give credence to the horse I'm riding.

I will say that when I first got my TB, he was nappy when I had spurs on and would get rubs. Turned out it was me and how I was holding my foot. Fixed that, fixed the nap.

He was also petrified of a crop. Like I couldn't carry one around him on the ground. In the saddle he was okay until I moved the crop and then he's way overract. Almost got dumped a few times. He hadn't been abused, he's just sensitive. I decided I didn't want him to be that sensitive, so I decided to carry it every ride. At this point, he's fairly used to it, but will still have some silly moments. I think he's much better off having had to deal with it...and I'm better prepared when he misbehaves or decides forward is optional.

I do have to be careful about when and how I use the crop to keep him in a decent frame of mind. Just starting out? I can whack him a good one if he's not listening to my leg. If we've been riding for a while or we are jumping and he's anxious about something? I usually just have to show it to him and he gets the point. More than that and he gets super upset and you aren't going to accomplish what you wanted anyway.

Jun. 1, 2011, 04:41 PM
It doesn't hold up now, because I don't have my own horse. But as a junior, my Rainer always told me that if you need a stick or spurs, someone or something in the ring needs to be trained better.

Jun. 1, 2011, 05:35 PM
Both, always. I have a variety of spurs that I may change out depending on the horse...not everyone needs the huge rowels:D

If you don't need them, you don't have to use them. If you do need them, you need to have them available NOW, not when you have a chance to put them on.

Jun. 1, 2011, 05:53 PM
For flatwork- it depends on the horse. Some go with nothing, some with crop or spurs and some with both.

For jumping- always carry a crop. My lazier ones go with both spurs and crop.

It's always better to have them and not need them rather than need them and not have them.

Jun. 2, 2011, 12:57 AM

Better to have and not need than to need and not have.

If I am riding something that cannot go in a stick or spurs, then that will be an exception.

Jun. 2, 2011, 10:12 AM
Completely Equine dependent.

I ride with both when on my 9 year old Trakehner stallion. I may not use either, one or both during my ride, but if needed I have them right there, ready for use. And there is rarely a ride where at least one is not needed once. :)

My 3 year old Canadian Sport Horse gelding is a more sensitive beast and is going through a phase where he is quite agile at spooking. With him I ride only with a whip. That way I don't accidentally jab him if he leaps and I am not totally centered, but if he decides that listening to my forward leg is optional, I can re-enforce it with a tap of the whip. He may graduate to spurs eventually or I may never need that extra push that I require for the Trakehner. Time will tell.

Jun. 2, 2011, 10:40 AM
It depends on sooo many things, but there are certain things that I hate seeing:

- a rider wearing spurs that doesn't have a developed enough keg, and ends up souring the horse over the jumps.

- seeing a horse being ridden in big spurs, and a harsh bit.

- watching a rider turn their toes out, jabbing the horse in the ribs.

As for crops, besides watching someone being abusive with it, I hate:

- when someone hits the horse on the shoulder, repeatedly when the horse isn't going forward.

- Seeing a horse smacked with a crop for a rider's mistake.

- Ya know those rubber straps? I hate seeing riders loop them around their wrist - that is sooo dangerous.

My favorite riding crop is a racing whip, but those are $$$. I also like. A dressage whip for greenies because I can tap them on the rump, while still holding on the reins.

Jun. 2, 2011, 11:33 AM
Both. I don't use them all the time, but I have them if I need them.

This. I have worked really hard on getting my guy more responsive. But I want to keep it that way. Most of the time I don't need them but I like having them just in case he's having "one of those days".

I remember GM saying always wear spurs and carry a stick. Even if the spurs are nubs. It's better to have them and not need them, than not have them that one time that you do end up needing them! JMO

Jun. 2, 2011, 11:56 AM
You need a "depends on the horse" choice. :)

I always have a stick and spurs ready in the trailer etc... but it depends on my horse, his mood and what I am doing. When I got my big horse the previous owner used huge spurs - - he was SO dead sided and dead in the mouth it was horrible. I now ride him without spurs and he's gotten so much better in the mouth. I don't like riding in spurs for some reason so I work with my horses so they don't need them... I guess it's just me.

Jun. 2, 2011, 02:29 PM
Flatting, little spurs.

Jumping, nothing - he has a hard jump & will still pop me loose every now & then - takes serious offense to any leg movement & spur jabbing ;)

I've started eventing with him, and XC I will use both a spur & a crop. Just a crop if I feel he's going to be extra 'looky' - again, not an easy horse to stay with.

I've been called 'unprepared' & the like by some of the BNT's for not carrying both - and yes, 'earning your spurs' is what I have heard. I can't stick with my horses jump 100% of the time - I am not going to punish him by giving me a great jumping effort.

Come Shine
Jun. 2, 2011, 10:10 PM
I'm glad I posted this topic. It's interesting that less than 20% ride nekkid. I have gotten out of the habit of getting dressed for the party but it certainly is true that it is better to have the aids on hand if needed.

I agree about 'earning' your spurs.

What a using a stick? When did you learn to carry a crop?

Jun. 3, 2011, 02:12 AM
Neither on my boy - he doesn't need either, generally a little leg and the occasional voice will get him where he's going or over whatever fence he's pointed at. We don't show (well, one little local show so far, maybe a few more here and there as life goes on but I can't afford to really show) so that's not an issue.

What a using a stick? When did you learn to carry a crop?

Never... jk... I CAN carry a crop competently. I just don't like it and I never have. I used to ride with one when I took eventing lessons all the time. I'm just not a very good multitasker so everything gets all muddled in my hands. I remember even after four years of carrying one every ride at the eventing barn, I was on this school horse that enjoyed bucking and running out, but he was a really good jumper if you knew how to ask him just right... So after warming up and before jumping a course in the lesson I just handed my crop to the instructor and to her puzzled look said "I can't work with my hands distracted." And went off for the first fence :lol: Pretty sure she thought without a crop to deter him the horse was going to kill me, but I helped bring him back from an injury so I knew him way better than that.

Now that I have my own horse who doesn't need a crop, I don't worry about carrying one. I have ridden him with one a couple times just to make sure that it's not something he freaks out about, and I carried one when I took him out to gallop because I figured he'd need a little convincing to move out, but that's it.

Jun. 3, 2011, 04:36 PM
I rarely use spurs because both of mine get rubs. I always carry a crop though.