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  1. #1
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    Question I don't want to use spurs...

    I'm currently working with a horse that needs spurs to be ridden. The thing is, I'm nervous to use them. I'm more used to using my natural aids than I am using artificial ones. For spurs, I know you have to keep your leg in place and keep in there. My leg doesn't stay still the entire time. Sometimes it moves forward or back more than it should. I don't want to ruin the horse and confuse him. Spurs are for reinforcing something, and I don't want to confuse him or make him think he is being bad even if he is doing well. Are there any tips someone could give me about being confident when using them, or maybe ideas of an alternative?

    PS: Please don't make fun of me for being nervous about using spurs...



  2. #2
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    Nov. 28, 2006
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    I have the same problem with my leg. I have used motivator spurs or a longer crop also does the trick.


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  3. #3
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    Nov. 27, 2011
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    You should not be using spurs if you don't have a stable leg. I'm not trying to be mean in any way, shape, or form, but it's true.

    If you DO have a stable leg, and are still nervous, then I suggest getting little (1/4" neck) spurs, using a spur rub pad.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Crazy-Pony View Post
    You should not be using spurs if you don't have a stable leg. I'm not trying to be mean in any way, shape, or form, but it's true.

    If you DO have a stable leg, and are still nervous, then I suggest getting little (1/4" neck) spurs, using a spur rub pad.
    Thank you for your honest opinion. I have a stable leg, but it's just not 100% stable all of the time. It slips sometimes. But I agree. I'll certainly look into getting a spur rub pad if I do end up having to use them. Thanks!



  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxx View Post
    I have the same problem with my leg. I have used motivator spurs or a longer crop also does the trick.
    I hope this doesn't sound totally stupid, but what are motivator spurs? And I'll certainly use the long crop if this spur thing does not work out. I just want my horse to be safe when I ride.



  6. #6
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    With the disclaimer that I agree w/ others re: spurs and needing a steady leg...

    ...none of us are perfect. And if you're not perfect, some spurs are softer/more gentle in their effect than others.

    The Stubben Soft Touch spurs are very popular among eventers who ride sensitive horses that tend to get spur rubs. The rolling ball makes them less likely to jab.
    http://www.smartpakequine.com/stubbe...urs-5421p.aspx

    Now if you're really paranoid, there's the Spursuader spurs. I own a set and I ADORE them. They're show-legal for Canadian and American hunter/jumper shows and USDF/USEF dressage. They are not legal for recognized eventing in the US because of the way the USEA rule regarding spurs is worded; they are legal for eventing elsewhere including Canada and the UK.
    http://www.spursuader.com/story.html


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equestrian Hailey View Post
    I hope this doesn't sound totally stupid, but what are motivator spurs? And I'll certainly use the long crop if this spur thing does not work out. I just want my horse to be safe when I ride.

    This is a motivator spur:
    http://greenhawk.com/wdItemDesc.asp?...ricSKU=DRD0961


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  8. #8
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    Nov. 25, 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by jn4jenny View Post
    With the disclaimer that I agree w/ others re: spurs and needing a steady leg...

    ...none of us are perfect. And if you're not perfect, some spurs are softer/more gentle in their effect than others.

    The Stubben Soft Touch spurs are very popular among eventers who ride sensitive horses that tend to get spur rubs. The rolling ball makes them less likely to jab.
    http://www.smartpakequine.com/stubbe...urs-5421p.aspx

    Now if you're really paranoid, there's the Spursuader spurs. I own a set and I ADORE them. They're show-legal for Canadian and American hunter/jumper shows and USDF/USEF dressage. They are not legal for recognized eventing in the US because of the way the USEA rule regarding spurs is worded; they are legal for eventing elsewhere including Canada and the UK.
    http://www.spursuader.com/story.html
    Thank you. I'll keep these in mind to discuss with my coach. For now, I'll be sticking to my crop.



  9. #9
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    My basic "rule" on spurs is that you should not use them unless you can engage and not engage them at will at all times, including when a horse is misbehaving, etc. When I was a teenager and rode 3-7 horses per day of all different sorts, I put my spurs on when I got the first horse ready and took them off when I was done for the day...and I did not actually "use" the spurs on every horse. I also don't think spurs should be used as a "go forward" aid so much as they are used as an "engage this hind leg" kind of aid.


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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineAlready View Post
    My basic "rule" on spurs is that you should not use them unless you can engage and not engage them at will at all times, including when a horse is misbehaving, etc. When I was a teenager and rode 3-7 horses per day of all different sorts, I put my spurs on when I got the first horse ready and took them off when I was done for the day...and I did not actually "use" the spurs on every horse. I also don't think spurs should be used as a "go forward" aid so much as they are used as an "engage this hind leg" kind of aid.
    That's my rule. I haven't used spurs since coming off my horse in June because I badly sprained my back which resulted in a left leg which would "go dead" on me - no numb, but not responding to brain signals to do anything. I'm still not totally trusting that leg will keep working, so don't use spurs.

    However, when I was using spurs they were always about asking my horse to step under with the hinds except for a time when he was doing aerials and trying to avoid forward and it became a "don't spin that way and move FORWARD" cue.
    My horse is a dressage diva so I don't have to be.

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  11. #11
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    It's a good idea to learn how to ride with spurs -- not every horse will need them but you can be much more subtle with your aids when riding horses that do. A crop is helpful but it doesn't always reinforce your leg aid in the same way (unless you are careful you will move your body). I also see them more as a way to reinforce your directional aids (enabling engagement) that a go forward mechanism.

    I have used "motivator" spurs in the past and thought the other types of spurs to be an interesting alternative to traditional spurs.

    I don't currently ride with spurs as my horse doesn't need them but I used to wear them all the time.
    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equestrian Hailey View Post
    I'm currently working with a horse that needs spurs to be ridden. The thing is, I'm nervous to use them. I'm more used to using my natural aids than I am using artificial ones. For spurs, I know you have to keep your leg in place and keep in there. My leg doesn't stay still the entire time. Sometimes it moves forward or back more than it should. I don't want to ruin the horse and confuse him. Spurs are for reinforcing something, and I don't want to confuse him or make him think he is being bad even if he is doing well. Are there any tips someone could give me about being confident when using them, or maybe ideas of an alternative?

    PS: Please don't make fun of me for being nervous about using spurs...
    I am curious as to what purpose you think spurs are used for and why in your specific case.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carolinadreamin' View Post
    I am curious as to what purpose you think spurs are used for and why in your specific case.
    The owner suggested that I use them. But I talked to her about my nerves and such and she said I'd be okay with a crop and leg until I get my leg strength back.



  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Equestrian Hailey View Post
    The owner suggested that I use them. But I talked to her about my nerves and such and she said I'd be okay with a crop and leg until I get my leg strength back.
    That sounds like the owner doesn't understand the proper use for spurs. Spurs are not a substitute for a crop or vice versa. A crop is a "go forward" aid to reinforce leg (for going forward) that is ignored by the horse, and spurs are more of an "engagement" aid.

    If the horse won't go forward, the crop is the more appropriate tool anyway.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineAlready View Post
    That sounds like the owner doesn't understand the proper use for spurs. Spurs are not a substitute for a crop or vice versa. A crop is a "go forward" aid to reinforce leg (for going forward) that is ignored by the horse, and spurs are more of an "engagement" aid.

    If the horse won't go forward, the crop is the more appropriate tool anyway.
    I don't disagree completely with what you are saying, but spurs absolutely have a place for a horse that needs a bit more encouragement to maintain the pace.

    I ride a horse that will go without spurs, but we struggle to "get the numbers". I certainly do not have the strongest leg in the world, but it is adequate for what we are doing. I am not afraid to go to my stick if he is truly not going forward when I ask for a transition, or at the base of a jump if he balks. When I wear spurs, I get just a little bit more respect, I sit up taller, I find better distances, and the striding seems to work out better. My rides always feel better when I have them on, and as mentioned, you should have the ability to engage or disengage at will. This particular horse realizes they are on once they have been applied and becomes lighter and more willing. At that point, I just keep them out of his sides.

    We do not know the ability of the OP or why she is being encouraged to use them, but I do think they can be helpful with a sluggish horse, especially if they are a bit dead sided.


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  16. #16
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    I've always been taught crop for go forward/naughty and spurs for refinement. Although I have ridden some verrrry sluggish horses who benefited tremendously from a well-timed spur. I personally don't like using spurs every single ride because I know I'll start to rely on them too heavily and not actually use my leg. I use them once or twice a week.

    OP, I normally ride in these (my beloved little nubbins), which are so mild most horses don't even realize you've got them on. My "medium spurs" are similar to these, but they have a shorter neck--again, another very mild option.



  17. #17
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    Spurs absolutely have their time and place. My trainers baby is HUGE, already bigger then my gelding at almost 4, and has 0 work ethic. Crops dont phase her, the low point came when she refused a tiny jump in front of the judges booth and finally the judge said go around and just do what you can. She got tiny nub spurs after that, and it helped give her a little more go.

    OP, don't use equipment you're not ready for. My gelding loathes thick bits, his preference is twisted wire because it's so thin, but my hands aren't nearly that soft yet.



  18. #18
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    Nov. 12, 2012
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    I agree with the people that said you should be able to ride spurs on anything and everything. I used to ride EVERYTHING in my pizza cutter spurs. One horse was a complete dragon and very temperamental, but that didn't mean you couldn't wear spurs on him, you have to use them correctly. You should be able to drop your leg, or add you leg whenever you want. It got to the point on my big fat lazy slug junior jumper that I didn't even need the spurs on him, but I always wore them.. I'd rather be well equipped than unprepared. I rode him with a dressage whip and people would get on spur-less and crop-less and comment on how responsive he was.

    Every training tool has a place, and I see no problem riding a horse in spurs, even if the horse doesn't need it. If the horse doesn't need it, he won't know they're there, if he does need it, at least I'm prepared. Spurs should never be used as a crutch for a weak leg.. hence the reason I do not ride in them anymore. I went away to college, came home for vacation, rubbed a hole in my horse's side, and put them away. I no longer have a good enough leg to handle the spur I used to ride with. The same reason why I changed my combination hackamore to a gentler bit.

    Less skills, less tools. End of story.



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by billiebob View Post
    OP, I normally ride in these (my beloved little nubbins), which are so mild most horses don't even realize you've got them on.
    I use the same "nubbin" spurs on a daily basis, on my mare. Forward is NOT a problem for her, but she does need a reminder, especially warming up, about stepping up and under with her hind end. I've gotten on sluggy horses in them, and they've made no difference; if I want forward, I go to a stick. Or in the case of a few real pokey ones, a dressage whip

    Your leg doesn't have to be perfect; goodness knows if it had to be perfect, no one would be wearing them! Just stable enough not to be swinging all over, and educated enough to know when you're using the spur, not gouging the horse accidentally. Start with a little nubbin, or the roller balls, but don't expect that to be the solution to forward.



  20. #20
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    Well...the OP says several times she has, for whatever reason, lost leg strength and is working to rebuild it. Or maybe she is working to build it in the first place. Whatever.

    In this case, based on this? She should leave the spurs off.

    Tell you what, best leg strengthener I ever had was a blocky WB who defined the phrase "dull to the leg". Trainer had me hack it as an extra ride but forbade the spurs. I was allowed a stick but, honestly, that never got much of a reaction (don't think you could hit it hard enough to soak in). Embarassingly, I could not get it to canter at all the first ride. About 10 rides on that thing and I had a strong and tight leg and that horse went off that leg light as a feather (sort of)-because that was all I had to use and trainer and that horse forced me to learn to really use it.

    So, OP should just work to make that horse move off of her leg as hard and as long as she can...and keep a nice bottle of Chard and a hot bath waiting.
    When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

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