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Clinic hell

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  • Clinic hell

    Audited a clinic yesterday and saw some of the worst spur abuse I've seen in ages. One could tell the clinicians from the barn where it was held from those who rode with other trainers just from the spurs - the barn owner/trainer had all her students in rowel spurs. Not that I'm opposed to spurs but none of these students had a decent seat and all of them would post with their stirrups then ram their heels into their horses. Made for a lot of unhappy horses - shown by their lack of forward and tense bodies.

    This has me thinking of two things. One: should the dressage community more actively discourage the use of spurs - at least in the ring not allow them till more heavy collection is asked for.

    And two: When does someone deserve a school master? I keep hearing people recommend to others that they purchase a school master to learn dressage on. I nearly cried yesterday watching a lovely older school master swish his tail in misery as his rider bashed him in the side with every step - not because he wasn't forward but because she was incapable of riding with a steady leg. Seems the horse did have forward issues but only when the woman rode him. The clinician got on and the horse was lovely, and moved off the leg easily with no swishing tail. Btw, the rider listed herself as a third level rider and the horse as FEI.

    I would like to hear more people recommending school masters for those who have at least mastered a decent post and can ride with seperate hands and seat. If you don't have that then the best horse in the world won't help someone learn dressage.


    Ok final complaint about this clinic. Most of the horse/riders were listed 2nd level or above. If those were second level or third or fourth then I must be FEI. Oh and one person even admitted to moving up a level because she was sick of being "stuck" at the previous one. Sigh.

  • #2
    i remember the day when i was a kid and rode western and my instructor said to me "i know she's dead to the leg- here's a crop) you don't get spurs in my barn until you can have a leg like that (pointing to a very lovely leg)

    at least these riders had rowels on and not POW which are much sharper!
    Qualified Saddle Fitter with the S.M.S.
    www.ravenwoodaussies.com

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    • #3
      i can empathize. i used to be where i saw that kind of thing day after day. it would make me want to rip those folks off their horses..... and sadly in a similar vein, the trainer was all for even the most absolute beginners riding with spurs and draw reins. sigh.

      all i an suggest is dont go to places where you will see this. because you cant change the world and the best you can do is to help educate folks in a manner that doenst get them mad.

      i truly believe that most folks that do this kind of thing arent doing it because they want to hurt their horses... they do it because they either dont know better or are not aware of what they are doing.

      Comment


      • #4
        So, did the clinician take a 'position'? Remove the spurs, and give the students a different methodology?

        A spur is a tool of finesse, it should (generallly) be used in that manner, its not about levels of collection imho. A schoolmaster, or no, equitation/timing/tact is what the study of dressage must be upon. Just letting a student to endless #*$(&$#&( lateral work isnt dressage, it's a joke. If the clinician/teacher/trainer/rider/judge doesnt hold the line, how is the quality of each ride to progress?
        I.D.E.A. yoda

        Comment


        • #5
          I would hope so. The purpose of a clinician in my book, is to clarify principles, and pick up on issues that the regular instructor may be missing. And this is a major issue.

          Roweled spurs ,indeed.
          Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

          Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
            I would hope so. The purpose of a clinician in my book, is to clarify principles, and pick up on issues that the regular instructor may be missing. And this is a major issue.

            Roweled spurs ,indeed.
            Don't attack the instrument, is not their fault. Roweled spurs have no fault of their own, is the leg that wears them the problem.

            I was taught to ride always with spurs, because when you are riding and you feel you need them, there is no time to go to the locker and get them on, is already too late. Then again, you do need to know where your legs are.

            Personally I ride always with roweled spurs, not the the type with stars but the ones with a round circle. I find that with this type of spurs the use of the leg is softer on the horse, because you need to give a light touch or shake in order to get a reaction. I do agree that if they are not used correctly, it can be terrible on the horse.

            I don't think that spurs should be used for 3rd level and up, because the purpose of the spur has nothing to do with collection. If you make a relation of the need of spurs for collection, there is something wrong on how you understand the use of this particular instrument. In green young horses, spur have an important job, in order to teach the horse no to lean in your leg and to move away from it. With the years and maturity of the horse, the main purpose is the same, but in different ways and degrees.

            I find harder on a horse, someone giving them a hard kick with their spurless heels, than a soft touch of a spur.

            Again, all these I think makes sense, when the rider knows how to use their legs. When you are learning, either don't wear spurs or if you are not sure wear the new spurs with the plastic roller ball.

            Comment


            • #7
              Roweled spurs ,indeed
              If the leg is not quiet then the spurs are not 'earned' and shouldn't be used. If the leg is quiet and spurs are used, then the rowelled spur is kinder than the Prince of Wales spur because it rolls rather than jabs.

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                I have the opposite opinion on spurs with young horses than one of the above posters. I don't think spurs should be used on them because they are harder than a leg or a tap with a whip, IMO.

                I see spurs as a way to give a more definite cue without being harsh - when used well.

                Sadly, the clinician didn't address the messy legs or spur issues the day I was there. Most of the riders seemed to have a lesson a day for the entire 4 day clinic and I attended the third day. My hope is that the issues were at least discussed at one point. I don't have much hope for those riding at that barn though. I'd seen one of the riders, a young girl new to riding, at a clinic early last year. She not only incessantly raked her horse with spurs but used her whip nearly as much. From what I saw, she hadn't changed this behavior at all since the last clinic. Oh and when I mentioned the over use of spurs last year in front of the trainer, her comment was that the horse was old and lazy so the girl had to use her spurs or the horse would stop. This same trainer chased her horse around the arena for 45 mins on the third day of the clinic (seriously, she nearly ran over the clinician coming into the arena and her comment was "the horse wasn't moving outside so I wanted to get her forward" - she got it forward by kicking the crap out of it just as she was coming in). I'm doubting anyone in that barn will learn too much no matter how many clinics they attend. Kind of depressing.

                Comment


                • #9
                  One: should the dressage community more actively discourage the use of spurs
                  no. The problem is with the user, not the spur. The problem is also with the trainer. I worry that you may be disgusted when you see spurs on dressage riders. Used correctly, which I do see in mine and my trainers barn, they are appropriate.
                  Humans don’t mind duress, in fact they thrive on it. What they mind is not feeling necessary. –Sebastian Junger

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Have to agree

                    I have to agree with alot of the above posts. I rode for 6 years or so without spurs at all and only when I had a chieved a very quiet leg was I recommended to wear them, and even then I could not USE them, it was just learning to work with them on. (I had a very sensitive horse at this time, and one brush of the unfamilier things would send her into a state of confusion!) Although I never actually used them at that mare I did find several uses for them later, for collection, and the very very occassional reminder on lateral work, but 99% of the time a touch of the whip is better. (touch not beating) I have not scene many complete beginners who really should be trying to use spurs, or any at all possibly. A woman I used to board with way back when was introduced to leg yeild on Firday and on Saturday she did not get the result she wanted, threw on spurs, and the horse promptly ran and lept sideways to wall, within the next week or two picked up bucking. Big shocker. They can be abusive in the wrong hands.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by mbm View Post

                      i truly believe that most folks that do this kind of thing arent doing it because they want to hurt their horses... they do it because they either dont know better or are not aware of what they are doing.
                      I am sorry to say I disagree.. I think they don't care, they don't care at all about the horse. They just want to "Get Somewhere", they want to "Move Up The Levels" and the horse is merely a vehicle to make that happen. Sick and sad.
                      "Kindness is free" ~ Eurofoal
                      ---
                      The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        This is the kind of clinicians with whom I throw out money in the toilet !

                        Thanks Elegante to post this; this remind me there is a lot to do with clinicians and unfortunately they have some credibility and can fool people and have horses suffer.
                        Élène

                        Fighting ovarian cancer ! 2013 huge turnaround as I am winning the battle !..
                        http://esergerie.wordpress.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          money talks

                          A different take on the situation (for what it is worth)

                          This is not that complicated....Well, this is very unfortunate but sadly we probably have all seen some sort of abuse at clinics. If not the spur, then the whip. Or perhaps a harsh trainer who works the horse too hard. The clinician should have put a stop to it, but it would alienate the paying clients. This is a case of "money talks"...who cares about principles???

                          Sounds like the spur problem is just the tip of the iceburg with this crew. I agree spurs are NOT the problem, they are being misused severely. Most trainers I know won't let you ride in them when you can't control your leg.

                          Sure, we can all talk about the horribleness of this, but sometimes its best to cut ties, not go back, and be the one who rides with compassion. It will just make you upset to dwell on it. Yes, it's hard and I've seen nasty things from Olympic level riders, but you can't change the world. It's a lesson to everyone to be careful what barn you audit with, and the best trainer can get "sucked in" to compromising standards when 10 people are lined up with checks.

                          And people will buy a schoolmaster when they can afford it, not when they deserve it. If riding dressage meant riding with/like these people I would quit and do trail riding the rest of my life. It's not worth it.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by P.R.E. View Post
                            I was taught to ride always with spurs, because when you are riding and you feel you need them, there is no time to go to the locker and get them on, is already too late. Then again, you do need to know where your legs are.
                            I didn't learn that way, but the week I "got an independent seat" that's how the instructor had me ride. If I was wrong, my sainted schoolhorse let me know RIGHT away.

                            Folks ... this is not just dressage, this is the current state of the WORLD. When we treat each other as commodities and expendable (I'm in a hurry today, so I'm going to cut you off, run this red light, make a dangerous u-turn in your way), when we turn a blind eye to the suffering of people not just across the world, but down the street ... how the HECK can you expect people to be attentive enough to their use of leg/foot?

                            In addition, of all the people who are teaching "dressage" in my area alone, I'd say only a quarter of them have an independent seat and full control of their bodies more than half the time they're on a horse.
                            *=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=*=

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by AllWeatherGal View Post
                              I didn't learn that way, but the week I "got an independent seat" that's how the instructor had me ride. If I was wrong, my sainted schoolhorse let me know RIGHT away.

                              Folks ... this is not just dressage, this is the current state of the WORLD. When we treat each other as commodities and expendable (I'm in a hurry today, so I'm going to cut you off, run this red light, make a dangerous u-turn in your way), when we turn a blind eye to the suffering of people not just across the world, but down the street ... how the HECK can you expect people to be attentive enough to their use of leg/foot?

                              In addition, of all the people who are teaching "dressage" in my area alone, I'd say only a quarter of them have an independent seat and full control of their bodies more than half the time they're on a horse.
                              Totally agree. It's society in general unfortunately-- I have a very pessimistic attitude lately towards that in general. I don't think it's ignorance that led these people to use spurs like that- they don't care and haven't bothered to take the blinkers off. It is sad to see it, and unfortunately if the whole barn is doing it you're probably not going to be able to change it. Perhaps a judge or a clinician in a respected position- it would be their responsibility to say something.
                              And as far as spur use-- well I ride a big older WB that I would not be able to get going very well w/out a very SMALL set of spurs- 1/4-1/2 inch long. and my leg is fairly quiet- the trainer watched me ride first, then gave them to me. I can't understand why someone would need rowel spurs or something really big if they're only riding at a certain level.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Two Simple
                                Sorry you had to see this. This country needs to get back to some old style classic trainers who INSIST on mastering every little basic and foundation step before advancing. When I took lessons as a kid and teenager, my instructor was never afraid to put me back on the line with no stirrups or reins while I worked through a problem.

                                <ESG waving frantically> We're here! Believe me, we're here! We just lack students who actually want to put the time in to learn how to ride, rather than how to get to do "the tricks". I'm blessed with two adult and one teen riders who are actually interested in learning to do it right, and I'm really enjoying them. So refreshing to find someone, in this fast food society, that's willing to work. And at something they know to be long-term.
                                In loving memory of Laura Jahnke.
                                A life lived by example, done too soon.
                                www.caringbridge.org/page/laurajahnke/

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by EqTrainer View Post
                                  I am sorry to say I disagree.. I think they don't care, they don't care at all about the horse. They just want to "Get Somewhere", they want to "Move Up The Levels" and the horse is merely a vehicle to make that happen. Sick and sad.
                                  really? i think that there are *some* few folks that don't really care, but i think most ammies (young and old) dont want to hurt their horses. they love them. if you told them eye to eye what they were doing my bet is they would cry and feel horrid. i can only hope that once they had the info they would change what they were doing.....

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by P.R.E. View Post
                                    Don't attack the instrument, is not their fault.

                                    In green young horses, spur have an important job, in order to teach the horse no to lean in your leg and to move away from it.

                                    When you are learning, either don't wear spurs or if you are not sure wear the new spurs with the plastic roller ball.
                                    Agree with #1

                                    Disagree with #2. Shouldn't one be able to teach a (green) horse not to lean on your leg WITHOUT spurs? Especially with a green horse, I would think you can nip the leaning in the bud faster.

                                    Agree with #3
                                    There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered -Nelson Mandela

                                    "You-Take-My-Stubben-Over-My-Dead-Body" Clique!

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      Currently working with a young horse who can lean. The best way when they really lean is to use your leg and give them one big wack to say "get the heck off!". After that if they start to lean I tap with the whip. With young horses big cues are better and a leg or boot without spurs is gentler. I want my horse sensitive to my spur so that I don't have to move my leg much or change my position to cue.

                                      Btw, I earned my spurs with a quiet leg. What that clinic did prove is that with a green horse/rider, spurs can lead to a dead horse. Spurs really shouldn't be used for forward. Hmm, I kind of made fun of Lisa Wilcox and her "boxing" the horse to get it forward but I think it's a much better way than constant spurring or the whip. Box it, baby, box it

                                      Oh and in the clinician's defense. He was young and his english wasn't very good. I think he was doing the best he could to help these riders and he was improving their riding.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Originally posted by Elegante E View Post
                                        Currently working with a young horse who can lean. The best way when they really lean is to use your leg and give them one big wack to say "get the heck off!". .
                                        Yes, I remember being told exactly this, thanks
                                        There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered -Nelson Mandela

                                        "You-Take-My-Stubben-Over-My-Dead-Body" Clique!

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