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So...the "Spur Stop"

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  • #21
    Originally posted by qhwpmare View Post
    Equate it to taking a hold of a Thoroughbreds mouth for it to go faster.
    We did that, called at the track "a fifth foot", because so you help the horse balance at speed.

    Half a century ago, learning to ask a horse to canter on the right lead in continental Europe, we were to use the inside heel to ask, the outside leg to support the hind end.

    Why?
    That was because when you ask with your heel that inside leg is what starts the canter depart properly, from behind.
    We didn't have problems with horses rushing into the canter, cross cantering or taking the wrong lead, even the first time we asked a colt to canter under saddle, because what that does, when you poke a horse right there, is a neurological response that brings that hind leg forward.

    Once in the USA, many were asking for the canter with the outside leg, took me a while to catch on to that.
    Doing that also had horses rushing into the changes and cross cantering and missing the proper lead part of the time.
    There are whole chapters in hunter books about that, how to do it and how to work to correct bad canter departs, like the one by Ann Kursinsky, if I remember well.

    I still will start canter the way I learned, with the inside leg driving, but then taught horses both ways, so it could respond no matter who was riding it.

    Try it on yourself, have someone poke you on your side about your hip and your body will tend to bend a little and that side's hip will move forward.

    I expect in a way some of that response, to bring the hind end under themselves, may be what is happening with the spur use, in many ways, including the spur stop.
    Fine spur use is also what teaches a horse to move off your leg, once well trained and so facilitate lateral movements along with using that hind leg more.

    We can train horses to respond any way we want them to, with any cues, installing any buttons as we can imagine may work for what we want.
    The trouble with that, when we don't have a standard, you need educated riders that can keep trying buttons to figure how a horse was taught.

    Those stiff, poking along wp riders look so ineffective up there, like they are not doing anything, but in reality, the rest of us that don't know that much about it, if given one of those very finely trained wp horses to ride, we would have a big surprise trying to get them to perform like they do without confusing them, just as those riders would be struggling with horses of other disciplines, if they were not aware of how to ride those and tried to get other than those spur trained horses to respond to them.

    Our riding instructor when I was a kid, when we did something that didn't make sense, used to say "that is like asking a horse you are riding to back pulling from it's tail".

    Once I did just that, taught this little mare to back when I pulled from her tail, from behind her.
    He rolled his eyes at me.

    We really can teach a horse anything, our imagination the limit.

    Comment


    • #22
      Originally posted by Arab_Mare View Post
      I don't do it and I don't really know what it is. Just warning you.

      Anyways, I hear good and bad things about the spur stop. Some say it's an "emergency break" if your horse bolts, but I'm not really sure how that would work..

      Anyway, I'm wondering what it is, what it's purpose is, and how it works?

      Thanks!
      I'm generalizing here, but the spur stop is a training method that allows you to engage the hind end, round the back, drop the horse's head and get the horse to slow down without ever touching its mouth. Because touching the horse's mouth in a pleasure class is a no-no, trainers have generally come up with a method that allows them to control the horse's body and speed with just their legs. This is why you see western pleasure horses with a big droopy rein while they seemingly never have to have their mouths touched to slow down.

      The spur stop is generally not used in other western disciplines such as reining or cutting for example, because you basically need a "quick" horse. Western pleasure is anything but "quick." It's also why you rarely see a western pleasure horse do anything but western pleasure. It's highly specialized.

      Comment


      • #23
        As others have mentioned, from a showing standpoint, the spur stop is "helpful" because you can slow the horse without anyone seeing you DO it. IE: The judge(s).

        From an outside of the ring functionality standpoint, about the only thing I could see it being helpful for is if your horse bolts on the trail or something. Most people tend to clamp down with their legs when they panic so I guess there could be some functional use there. However, I can't think of any spur stop trained horses I've known over the years that ever saw the outside of an arena with a rider on their back.
        A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

        Might be a reason, never an excuse...

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        • #24
          I just don’t think use of the ‘spur stop’ is nearly as widespread as one might think from reading this thread. I see many very fine WP horses that do not have a ‘spur stop’. I have seen many, many horses that were started as reiners, cutters, etc in one of the traditional ways that turned out to be great WP horses with no such thing as a ‘spur stop’. And I have ridden many good finished spade bit horses who stop with almost no aid at all, much less a visible movement of the rider’s hands.

          Using a spur aid in preparation for stopping is another thing entirely. “Using a spur aid” to me means ‘thinking about my spurs and maybe turning my toes a little farther out and up”. I do this all the time. From what I read of the article linked in this thread, the so-called ‘spur stop’ is really about impulsion. But if the horse already is moving with impulsion and collection; why spur to stop? Impulsion is definitely a prerequisite to a good stop. I just think there are much much better ways to get it. Ways that will beneficial to the horse not only for WP, but for making progress in any other endeavor.

          I teach my young horses to move out, move their shoulders over, bend their ribcage, and move their hindquarters over, from spur aids. I lay my reins down and ride without any almost every day. I practice without reins, and when I stop without reins or spurs, and ask for a backup, the spur aid is very helpful to put energy into the backups. I use spur aids when needed for lead changes; outside to get her to push off, inside to get the bend if needed. I’m not training a specialized WP horse; just a good horse that can reach he reach her potential in something.

          From the best I can tell this entire ‘spur stop’ idea is very specialized to WP. Hopefully that’s where it will stay. If this is widespread, the criticisms of WP are a lot more understandable to me.

          Comment


          • #25
            Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
            I'm generalizing here, but the spur stop is a training method that allows you to engage the hind end, round the back, drop the horse's head and get the horse to slow down without ever touching its mouth.
            Maybe we are talking about two different things. Collection and impulsion are one thing; stopping is another. Impulsion and collection needs to be there BEFORE you ask for the stop.

            Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
            Because touching the horse's mouth in a pleasure class is a no-no, trainers have generally come up with a method that allows them to control the horse's body and speed with just their legs. This is why you see western pleasure horses with a big droopy rein while they seemingly never have to have their mouths touched to slow down.
            Good finished WP horses stop with no visible movement of the hand and no spur aid. They stop from seat and legs.

            Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
            The spur stop is generally not used in other western disciplines such as reining or cutting for example, because you basically need a "quick" horse. Western pleasure is anything but "quick." It's also why you rarely see a western pleasure horse do anything but western pleasure. It's highly specialized.
            And don't kid yourself, it's not common in upper level WP either

            Comment


            • #26
              Originally posted by rtph View Post
              And don't kid yourself, it's not common in upper level WP either
              Oh, yes it is.

              When was the last time you sat along side the schooling pen at an AQHA or APHA show and watched?

              Comment


              • #27
                Originally posted by Go Fish View Post
                Oh, yes it is.

                When was the last time you sat along side the schooling pen at an AQHA or APHA show and watched?
                about 40 years. LOL

                Comment


                • #28
                  Originally posted by rtph View Post
                  Good finished WP horses stop with no visible movement of the hand and no spur aid. They stop from seat and legs.


                  And, the "spur stop" is not about "stopping." That's what "whoa" is for.

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Okay, you're excused!

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      Okay, rtph, name a current top end western pleasure trainer that does NOT put a spur stop on their horses. Not an all around trainer that occasionally has a pleasure horse go around, but one of the big pleasure trainers.

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        That's not a name.

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by BayRoan View Post
                          Okay, rtph, name a current top end western pleasure trainer that does NOT put a spur stop on their horses. Not an all around trainer that occasionally has a pleasure horse go around, but one of the big pleasure trainers.
                          I have given you the benefit of my knowledge and experience. I have no time to do the research for you too. You will learn more, and retain it longer, if you do the research yourself. LOL

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                          • #33
                            Originally posted by rtph View Post
                            about 40 years. LOL
                            Somehow I was thinking you were a teenager, for what you post.

                            Anyone long enough around horses learns to be a bit humble and not to take what they know for granted.

                            Guess that it take some longer than others.

                            Comment


                            • #34
                              Thanks Bluey. We do agree on this! LOL

                              Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                              Somehow I was thinking you were a teenager, for what you post.

                              Anyone long enough around horses learns to be a bit humble and not to take what they know for granted.

                              Guess that it take some longer than others.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Well, I admit to not having been around the western show world (or breed show world) for a long time, but this discussion really had me 'interested'.

                                Back in 1970, I accompanied one of my students to ApHC Nationals - and while watching one part of the Queen's Contest, saw an amazing demonstration of smooooooth stops - and she never picked upon the rein at all. I was mesmerized! I made a point to talk with her later and she explained that she rode occasionally with Monte Foreman and that this was his method. She admitted that she actually DID cue her horse with the reins in that competition - by touching his neck - but that usually she did not. Sit deep, put your legs on to bring the hindquarters up underneath, and keep him straight! It was a refreshing change from heads up, open mouths, or chin on chest.

                                I'm guessing that this is where the 'spur stop' originated - using the spur as an extension of your leg. The name? Well, I won't go there. Or to WP as it is these days.

                                Carol
                                www.ayliprod.com
                                Equine Photography in the Northeast

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                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by rtph View Post
                                  Well I think teaching to stop from a spur aid is absurd. So, whoever does it, please come out of the wood work and lets hear about it.

                                  This sounds like some kind of wild rumor about western pleasure horses and/or trainers that has been cooked up by overly defensive and uninformed english/dressage type COTHers. I just don't think this is something that actually happens with good, or even any substantial number, of reputable western trainers. It's offensive to say it does.

                                  So anyone who advocates this, please come out and tell us now.
                                  Hmm... well they don't get bigger or more highly respected in the show pen than Jason Martin, and here he is talking about his Championship winning World Show ride on Harley D. Zip.

                                  http://gohorseshow.com/article.cfm?articleID=26345

                                  Here is a video from the pair winning the same class again in 2011. The video shows the stop perfectly from the side at the end.

                                  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Bxd66tuRkE

                                  I'm not sure why rtph is claiming it to be so uncommon, heck, even our 19 year old school horse came with one originally...
                                  The ninja monkeys are plotting my demise as we speak....

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by ccoronios View Post
                                    Back in 1970, I accompanied one of my students to ApHC Nationals - and while watching one part of the Queen's Contest, saw an amazing demonstration of smooooooth stops - and she never picked upon the rein at all. I was mesmerized! I made a point to talk with her later and she explained that she rode occasionally with Monte Foreman and that this was his method. She admitted that she actually DID cue her horse with the reins in that competition - by touching his neck - but that usually she did not. Sit deep, put your legs on to bring the hindquarters up underneath, and keep him straight! It was a refreshing change from heads up, open mouths, or chin on chest.

                                    I'm guessing that this is where the 'spur stop' originated - using the spur as an extension of your leg. The name? Well, I won't go there. Or to WP as it is these days.

                                    Carol
                                    Naw, the 'spur stop' originated with the concept in WP of elevating the back and engaging the rear legs to slow down, which was better than the previous peanut roller 4 beaters. This back raising could be accomplished rapidly by raising the rein hand very high to put a gag action on the bit, and gigging the horse as far under the belly as possible with the spurs. Horse sucked up belly, which raised back, legs came under = slowed down. Long legged guys on WP horses can almost spur on the underside of the belly. It developed from there. I have watched many big name WP riders doing this with their greener horses. You don't notice it so much on finished WP horses because the obvious spur cue can be refined to leaning back behind the motion with applied leg pressure. You do see a lot of amateurs riding along with spur constantly in contact, however, especially short legged ones.

                                    I use the spur stop principle, but as calf pressure to slow down - in conjunction with a very open hip angle and, initially, high hand gag action rein for major fixes in raising the withers and getting the horse to lower its head/neck from the physics of the raised wither, not by rein pressure. Since, when I showed QH, I wanted both the sucked back collected canter on the rail in HUS, but instant lengthening and go for jumps, my heel contact meant go, calf cantact and reversed seat meant collect and slow down. (Just a basic dressage half halt, but slow motion). Works for me.

                                    The above kinda takes awhile to train, and the 2 year old WP trainers do not have awhile, so the spur stop is one of their tools, since they never have to lengthen to an oxer.
                                    Comprehensive Equestrian Site Planning and Facility Design
                                    www.lynnlongplanninganddesign.com

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                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by propspony View Post
                                      I'm not sure why rtph is claiming it to be so uncommon, heck, even our 19 year old school horse came with one originally...
                                      I started seeing the spur stop in the late 70s, but it became a fairly common training method on WP horses in the mid 80s. It would not be surprising to hear that a 19-year old horse came with a spur stop installed.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by rtph View Post
                                        I have given you the benefit of my knowledge and experience. I have no time to do the research for you too. You will learn more, and retain it longer, if you do the research yourself. LOL
                                        I'm pretty comfortable with my level of knowledge on the subject. You asked for names of trainers who use it, and I offered up a few. You still claim it is uncommon, so I asked for you to provide a name, and you decline. Perhaps you should do some research yourself.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by rtph View Post
                                          I have given you the benefit of my knowledge and experience. I have no time to do the research for you too. You will learn more, and retain it longer, if you do the research yourself. LOL
                                          It's common as water in WP horses. It has no function in reiners or cutters. It's not anyone's job to prove it to you, especially with your waspy attitude.

                                          Google 'spur stop' and find out you're wrong if you like. Or not, you'll still be wrong about it being newfangled or BS. It's common.

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