Monday, March 9, 2009

No Point in Spurs

When Not to Use SpursThis is a good topic to discuss.
Questions and comments and stories! are always welcome.
If you need more information on spurs, please contact me.
©Copyright KISS Reiners

(photo on left of one of a pair of mexican spurs that I bought in Mexican Village in Detroit, Mi many, many years ago. You can see that I use it as a lamp decoration.)

There are times when spurs need to come off or when a milder pair of spurs are needed.

Milder spurs maybe needed when the riding you want to do requires alot more leg movement. I use milder spurs for example when I am out on cattle drives. I know that I may use my leg more quickly or harder than I may realize, so I want to have a more forgiving or gentler spur.
I may even take the spurs off if the horse is the sensitive type.

As riders, we try to use as gentle of a spur as we can that's effective. Just like bits.

I also think it's a good idea to take spurs off when someone has no idea on how to use them. If a rider doesn't know to turn their toe outwards and push the spur into the side of the horse then they could create problems. A very gentle bumping action is ok too.

Of course we all know not to harpoon a horse.

Which leads me to another reason to take spurs off... and that's when the horse is getting agitated with the spurs. The tail is swishing. The horse is tossing their head. Or the horse is getting chargey or uppitty (it that a word? :).

The tail swishing can become a permanent bad habit. (A tool in their 'tool kit' that we DON'T want. You can't get rid of tail swishing like cribbing or weaving so it's best to prevent it from starting.)

The horse is trying to tell you that you don't know how to use a spur properly (ie. to push) or you are using the wrong kind. (Too sharp and it hurts. Too mild and you're nagging.)

These are all great signs from your horse that you need to change your spurs.

I also don't use spurs when I am first starting to ride a horse. Like in the case of Trigger, our live example for these articles. I don't know how Trigger is going to react and I also don't know his history of spurs. I will be putting them on shortly, now that I know that he understands my leg cues and is still dull in response to just my leg.

I also don't use spurs when I am first starting a horse under saddle. I know some people do and that's great. That means that the trainer knows how to be extra careful when using them. I just prefer not to make a mistake and accidently scare a horse.....

That leads me to an interesting story....

The Green Broke ? Lucky Buzz Horse
One of the things that I like to do is train..... So I will on occasion buy a 'project' from one of the local horse auctions in this area. A green broke (just started) or unbroke young horse to train and then resell.
Very early in my career, I decided to buy this grullo colored young gelding with Lucky Buzz breeding. I was told that the horse was 'green broke'.

I know... I know.... Buyer beware..... Well.....

With my mild spurs on (I call them 'baby' spurs), horse tacked up and ready to ride, I mounted the horse to get started. As soon as my spur of the opposite leg had reached around and touched his sides..... I was off....

Bucking!.... That horse bucked all the way across the riding pen!!! I stayed on but it was quite an 8 sec. ride! Apparently he didn't have very much riding on him.... I guessed afterward that he might have had someone on him once.

Needless to say, I took the spurs off! I've been careful every since. :) (And you guessed it.... it was before my extensive groundwork program. Groundwork..... anyone?... :O)

If there is anything else that a reader would like to know about spurs, then let me know and I will be happy to write more.
There are many points on spurs! :)

Thanks to my student & friend Catherine for the suggestion on spurs.

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