New to Spurs! Please help!
Long story short I bought a horse that has a few little issues. Mainly laziness and trying to get out of doing things. When I correct him he is pretty quick to listen. No blow ups yet *Knock on wood*. A friend suggested using spurs because I am not too good with a riding crop. It's awkward to me. Well I tried a pair of her spurs and every time I tap him with them he sort of jumps in place like he doesn't know what they are or what I want him to do.
Should I have someone lead him and when I want him to go faster tap him so maybe he will make the connection? Should I just wear them and eventually he will get used to them? What kind should I get? I want the mildest kind I can get. Please help me out!
before you wear spurs make sure that you have total control of your lower legs you could accidentally jab your horse without realizing it the mildest spur that I can think of are the ones that the english riders use they have either a ball on the end or are just blunt on the end. any spur just like with any bit can be used harshly in the wrong hands or on the wrong feet. good luck
I don't think I would have a problem with jabbing him by accident. I tend to keep my feet out more than I should anyways. I would need western spurs. The blunter rowels would be less harsh right?
I hear a lot of different things about spurs being milder or not. One article I read claimed that sharper ones were better than the blunt ones because you can actually do internal damage if you put a lot of pressure to a horse with a blunt one. I don't know about any of that. Seems to me you'd have to be kicking extremely hard to do damage that way.
I would go with a rounded rowel as well just something to kinda poke him. You might need to carry your crop and give him both signals so he knows what you want and then stop using the crop and only use the spurs?
Just a suggestion. I am not a horse trainer by any means.
That's a good idea. He knows what the crop means i'm just not quick enough with it. lol. I would think you would have to be beating the tar out of a horse to cause that kind of damage! GEEZ! You're right I just want something to poke him and say "hey listen up".
I am not a huge spur person but I will give this a try. I do know, there are times that horses have never experienced spurs so you will get that confusion from them when you start using them as they are a new piece of equipment to them. I would try two things, maybe ground work using the tip of your crop to simulate the spur and get him to yield and accept it ( I am a big believer of doing it on the ground work first) Then you can hope on and he wont be confused. Two, not all horses like spurs so you may not be able to use them since like certain bits, they will avoid it. Lastly, like bits and other equipment, start with a simple spur, a starter one with that little tip till you and him get used to it because he may only need that little one and not something sharper.
Try the ones with the ball, I have a western pair that I adore. I can still roll them up the horses side. The heavier westen spurs seem to weight your heel down as well so thats nice.
I'll try to find a picture of them.
Just remember to ask with your leg first then spur so that the horse becomes conditioned to the leg only.
Here is the link for my spurs that I love.
note watch out for the slip on spurs they dont stay on and the bumper spurs as you have less control over accidentally bumping your horse (if your leg is in the proper position they will constantly be hitting your horse)
I prefer the kelly bumper spurs because it is just like using your own heels except with a little more umff behind it...worked really well on my lazy mare and they seem to accept them a little better than the pointier ones. Also usually once you start using the spurs, as long as he knows you are wearing them, you won't need them. Sounds crazy but my mare was more alert when she knew I was wearing them even if I didn't use them:laughing6:
OP- it sounds like you might be kicking your horse with the spur, like you would if you didn't have spurs. Spurs are meant to be rubbed on the horse's side, never kick with a spur on.
in my opinion spurs aee not for making a lazy horse move. but as a finishing touch to cues. If you direct the horse to go go left or right will he move? if so ask him to go forward if he wont then make him do little circles. if the horse knows how todisengage do that if he doesnt move his feet forawd. eventually he will learn it is much easier to go forward when asked than do a million circles or disengages. the point is if he wont move his feet forward make him move his feet in a different way. that way he is still moving his feet....does that make sense?
Yes, that makes sense. Really when I say lazy it's not that he won't move forward. Well for example, we were working over ground poles so he would quit shuffling his feet and tripping. After a few times over the poles, he began turning his head into the pole like he was going to go over them and then move his body to the outside, avoiding the pole. The lady that has pretty much been giving me lessons says that if I would swat him or poke him on the out side he would quit. I really have to kick him hard on that side to have any effect with just bare heals. He listens to a crop better but I fumble with it a lot. I just want them so when he does stuff like that I can tap him as to say "hey now stop that!" because he knows exactly what he is doing wrong. He is very dead sided though so the heels aren't cutting it. I don't even have to really swat him with the crop but like someone said, if he knows i'm carrying it and just tap him with it he gets the message fast.
It's clear he's trying you. Please, don't jab or poke him with the spur. No matter how mild, that's not what they are for. They are to be used as an extention of your leg - not a poker. Use your leg pressure first and then if he does not respond you can add spur pressure and then if he still does not listen you can roll them up and down (it only takes a slight movement). Use a spur with a medium rowel, stay away from anything that has a smaller rowel than the size of a quarter. The others may be smaller (dime size), but they press a smaller area making it hurt more. By sticking with a crop it will reinforce what he already knows (go when you tap) and it will give you better coordination while riding.
The way I use mine is,leg pressure, jingle bobs, spur pressure, roll the spur. All you have to do is wiggle your toes in your boots and bobs will ring, if you always ring them before applying spur pressure, you'll be surprised how quickly the horse responds to the ringing.
Hope this helps
learn to use the crop. Honestly, getting your horse to move forward will solve a lot of the dead sided issues. When you apply leg, does he just shuffle off or does he go "yes ma'am!" and walk/trot off actively? What about the crop do you find difficult?
Here is what I do. Start warming up with a nice active walk. If he doesn't start out doing this when I apply my leg, he gets a tap behind my leg with the crop. After the walk for a few laps, progress to trot. Again, leg pressure, if not an immediate and active response, gets a tap. Bring back down to a walk and try again. Usually takes about 15 minutes to get him really listening. And you have to make sure you DO NOT NAG during this time. Its just leg, crop, release, to reward forward motion. When all it takes it a little bit of calf to get him to go forward, you know he is listening to your leg correctly.
I have to do this with my horse every.single.ride but let me tell you, when I do it makes a huge difference. And if your horse understands the crop but not a spur, I would try this exercise first. Spurs are definitely a good tool but I think if you just get him listening to your leg from the get go, he won't be so dead sided.
Before ever riding a horse with spurs, you make sure they understand leg aids-sidepass, half pass, collect (drive up from behind when legs are applied )
Make sure you have enough of an independant seat so that you never touch your horse with the spurs unless you intend to
Once your horse is responsive to leg aids, you ride with spurs not to make them go, but to refine leg aids to the point that they become invisible to anyone watching
You then ask with legs first-always. Then if the horse does not respond, instead of escalating to kicking with you legs, you add just enough spur pressure until the desired response is given
Next time, you again give the horse a chance to respond to light legs alone
A horse thus has a reason to respond to lioght legs, knowing that if they don't , spur is next. On a horse thus trained, even if you ride with spurs, you seldom need to use them, again making the right thing easy and the wrong thing hard
Only when people apply the spur as a first aid, do horses become frightened of you legs, over react or swish their tail, etc, as you have given them no warning or a chance to do the right thing first-being responsive to light leg alone
Can't imagine the type of riding where horses has spur marks or even physical damage-people like that should not ride with spurs, or even ride, period!
I guess crops are an option, but not for the type of riding I do. You want a responsive horse to very light leg aids, and crops ceratinly aren't used in the show pen, esp in western disciplines. Also, when you reach back with acrop, you loose3 your body position. A crop is a crude way to maybe get a spoiled horse moving, but does not fit into a solid training program
seriously? You think crops are crude and do not fit in a solid training program? I think like everything else they are tools that when used effectively, are good things to have. And not just for a spoiled horse.
Also, maybe you've never watched show jumping but plenty of the top competitors ride with crops in the ring. I guess they're wrong to do that and their training programs aren't solid?
I agree with you that a horse needs to be sensitive to the leg. I didn't think in this case a spur would be the best idea since the horse, per the OP, didn't seem to understand how to respond to them. Its pointless to sit there, with the spurs raking the horse's side when they have no idea what they should be doing. However, since the horse does respond to the crop and as long as the OP is applying it correctly, I think in this case its a better tool.
And if you are concerned about losing your body position (which doesn't happen with a crop anyway, you just have to remove one hand from the reins) try using a dressage whip. They are long enough that you won't have to remove your hands from the rein which is nice when you don't want to focus on coordination.
Dressage whip. Hands can stay in place. It is just a little flick of the wrist.
But, I think you will just hit the same wall. With spurs or a whip, eventually your horse will tune them out too.
Lazy, tripping? Sounds sore or bored.
Lazy can also be a sign of a rider giving conflicting signals. Such as asking the horse to go, but having such a stiff hip that the horse's back is blocked.
I agree that spurs are about refinement. Or possibly about having that little extra when/if you need it...although I ONLY use a spur for lateral refinement, and not for more go. I only ever spur on one side at a time. Poke yourself in the ribs on one side only and you move away...poke on both sides at the same time, and you brace against/lock your ribs. Simply the act of turning your toes out to use the spurs makes your thighs tighten which in turn causes your seat to lock, blocking the horse's back and discouraging forward movement. Aids to go should come from the inside of your leg, not your heel.
Note about whips and crops. IMHO, whips/crops should only be applied as a reinforcement of the leg and only applied where the aid (in this instance) is applied. That is mainly just behind the girth and just with pressure and not a 'smack' unless there is an immediately pressing safety issue where a bit of snot is needed. One exception (and there are a couple of them) is a touch to the shoulder or whithers for timing a canter depart or lead change).
On spurs - I am also not a big fan of spurs unless one knows how to use spurs and one has the correct spurs for job at hand. Using spurs to encourage impulsion generally is 99% of the time a no-no in my book. That is, in simple terms, I avoid using spurs to get a horse to move forward as a general rule unless it's an emergency situation.
I use spurs of the proper design for a given horse purely for lateral flexion and longitudinal flexion. This means using spurs of the appropriate level of "authority".
If you are new to spurs or are really good at using spurs, this design is good (especially for beginners and those who are skilled at using spurs for proper flexion):
For beginners with spurs, setting them down on the shelf of he heels of boots is recommended as they are unlikely to accidentally poke a horse unintentionally. For advanced riders, a higher up position on a spur tab is permissible.
Spurs are a means of refined communication with a horse if judiciously and properly applied, and as minimally as possible only as needed. The Fench bumpy spurs (as I call them) are what I personally recommend for horses that are being introduced to spurs, for riders who aren't familiar with the use of spurs or for advanced riders training horses to respond laterally and longitudinally in flexion.
Spurs, like bits, are only as severe as the rider applies them. Spurs are like bits in general - there is a fine line between an aide and punishment. Any aide applied with constant pressure becomes a punishment in short order whether intentionally or not. If you can avoid using spurs, by all means avoid using them. Impulsion is better achieved by seat than by spurs.
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