JoMarieM

Should Inexperienced Riders Wear Spurs?

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Do you think that inexperienced riders (and I'm talking about people who may have NEVER, or only a few times been on a horse) should wear spurs? I think a lot of it depends on the horse's level of training and the rider, but in my opinion, I think that only experienced riders should have them, even if the horse is completely used to being spurred (or won't move without them. Sometimes new riders can get a little too excited wanting to go fast, and dig in a little too deep.

I remember reading a story once about a guy who ran a ranch of some sort for troubled city kids, where the kids rode horses and did other stuff around the ranch. Apparently one of the kids spurred his horse hard enough to draw blood. He got punished for it (thankfully), but still, why would anybody who cares about their horses let an inexperienced rider use spurs on them, especially a kid with emotional issues? That's just asking for trouble.

I took riding lessons at a barn that taught both English and western, but nobody except for the upper-level western riders wore spurs. I have never used spurs myself (I ride English and no English rider I know of uses them either), though I know quite a few western people who do. I don't have a problem with spurs if people know how to use them responsibly without harming the horse, but I also believe that there are some people in this world that should NOT use them -- and that includes experienced riders, too.

Would you let someone who has never, or very rarely, been on a horse, use spurs on them? Or not?

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Deffinatly not. Spurs are a tool, and if used incorrectly, can cause major damage, mentally and physically, to the horse, and maybe to the rider if the horse happens to throw them, and they end up injured.

Easy enough question...

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No....

If someone is green....than spurs 101 can wait...there are soooo many other hurdles to tackle.

I was taught bareback only (mostly) when I was a greenie(3-15yrs.old)....My dad would get frustrated with me and then I was not allowed a saddle when exercising a horse......He would see me riding and bouncing all over the place, clearly riding the saddle and the bit, not the horse. He would sentence me to it. Sometimes he would walk right up and tell me to get down and then pull the saddle off right there and leg me up and then say, now, go do it again....

Most of the time I would say, "I can't!" ( sometimes in a pout or crying...I was a brat) and he would say...then until you learn to do it like this....you are not ready. I would say, "How?" and he would say, 'The horse will show you." He was right. I'd eventually get it done...to spite him. :rolleye0014:

But tell ya what...it was a good way to tackle alot of stuff without any real direction from a human about a good seat, balance, 'feeling the horse' trusting, falling ( fear of vs. no problem with it), leg cues ( going all the way up the thighs and in the booty)...etc.

I don't think I was allowed or even tried to wear spurs until I was an adult...and even then...I most of the time was cutting or penning on a horse that...for my level of 'know how'...was so much better than I....I was more or less getting an education from the horse rather than the one who was doing the 'cueing'...

Edited by teampenninglady123

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in order to become experienced in using spurs is the inexperienced rider is taught how to use them correctly.

The question is when is the inexperienced rider ready to learn.

Edited by Ann Wheeler

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I have seen horses completely ruined because of spurs. :confused0024: So much that a horse won't move unless you have spurs on and sometimes even then, it is a crap shoot.

Honestly, I don't think you need spurs if your horse is trained well enough and is sensitive enough. Of course a horse in training **MAY** need them, depending on the horse.

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its a safety issue. you can throw a crop away in a second in an emergency. can'f do that with spurs so you're asking for trouble giving them to a greenie.

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I feel a person must earn their spurs. Once they have learned to ride correctly, then they need to learn how to ride with spurs correctly.

My old cutting mare Amber can go with or without spurs. It has been determined that she will get a bit lazy and "behind" without them though. And it's not that you have to spur her to get her to move or turn, but if she knows you are wearing them? Much cleaner, quicker turns, better take off, stays with the cow better. And if you are warming up, maybe doing some roll backs or even just loping circles, she will stay loping smoothly and better, quicker and cleaner roll backs if she knows you are wearing spurs.

Snickers gets a little barn/herd sour sometimes. A quick poke in the ribs gets her focused again. I can smack her with the reins but if you are in a show situation, or riding with another horse, that can do more harm than good sometimes. She was being a pill for me the other day when my friend Patti was riding my greenie mare Tari. I had to smack Snickers a couple of times with the end of the reins because I didn't have my spurs on. Each time, Tari got more upset! So we quit on a good note, for Tari's sake, but it would have been better had I thought to put my spurs on.

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Spurs are a tool and can, properly used, be much more precise in giving a cue to a horse than a leg or a heel. They can also be a "last resort" kind of cue...ie....leg cue ignored, heel cue ignored, spur used to wake up the horse and let him know that ignoring cues is not the way to go. And a rider needs to be taught how to use spurs and that can depend on the type of spur being used. A little English nubbin type is a far cry from a "rock crusher" type or a "ball" type such as Lyons has. A rowelled western spur can be really mild or can be horrendous....and it isn't always what it looks like either. For instance, a rowelled spur with only 6-8 points on it will be much more severe than one with 24 points on it...the further apart the points are the more severe the individual points press on the horse...those old time vaquero spurs with 24 or 32 points actually had the points very close together and didn't put as much "ouch" into the side of the horse as one with fewer points. And those big circular rowells were more often rolled against the side of the horse than jabbed. Yes, improperly used they could and probably did draw blood and no one should do that...even rough stock rodeo horses seldom get blooded any more as the spurs are rolled across the shoulders rather than jabbed into the horse.

My old cutting stallion was a bit like Andi's cutting mare. He'd get a little lazy, a little sloppy or just plain a little cheaty if he didn't think you had the resources to straighten him out. My older son was riding him with the radio cow one day and doing big lazy roundhouse turns instead of getting on his butt and pivoting like he should. The kid didn't know how to use spurs so wasn't allowed to ride with them yet. He came up to the house madder than a wet hen because the horse was cheating. Wanted spurs. I told him "no" and we went to the barn where I cut a piece of old dog chain collar off and told him to put it in his pocket and jingle it with each step as he went back out to the horse....he did, the horse immediately had ears pricked up and got "unsleepy" and when my kid got on him and I moved the "cow" that horse MOVED...about 20 feet straight sideways and then about 15 back to block and then face up to the "cow". The horse wasn't ever hurt with spurs (he was such a wus that speaking sharply to him was enough to make him melt into a puddle most often) but he didn't want to even be bumped with them or have them rolled on his side....so if he THOUGHT you had them on he was wide awake and quit being lazy and cheating. If you were riding with them on you had to be careful and not bump him unless you were deliberately telling him something. An accidental bump could get you a surprize sideways jump. Like most cutting horses (and well trained horses in probably any event) an independent seat was a necessity to riding him....legs on him meant something and you had to use some sense in using legs, heels and spurs as they all got a response.

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No.

I'm surprised you haven't seen any english riders wear spurs, though. Most english riders I know wear them (another tool in the toolbox, so to speak), myself included.

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Would you let someone who has never, or very rarely, been on a horse, use spurs on them? Or not?

No.

Spurs are not appropriate until the rider has enough experience and physical conditioning to maintain balance and proper leg position, and can consistently give leg cues that the horse understands.

Using spurs when those 3 elements are missing isn't fair to the horse and it definitely isn't safe for the rider.

Beginner legs flop and bounce about, and even the laziest horse is liable to react when jabbed randomly and repeatedly. When the horse reacts with a kick or crowhop, it will probably be (accidently) jabbed again, which can cause full-out bucking or bolting with the beginner on board.

Not good.

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Nope, not until the rider has a solid leg, independant seat and fully understands how to use their spurs.

Spurs must be earned, their not just "given to whoever wants to speed up their horse". Spurs are for precision, not speed.

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upper level western horses MUST be spur trained. saying no horse should need spurs is like saying every horse should only go in a snaffle, its an ignorant statement

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upper level western horses MUST be spur trained. saying no horse should need spurs is like saying every horse should only go in a snaffle, its an ignorant statement

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i don't think anybody is saying that. in reference to the OP's question, i just think it's very unsafe for a greenie to wear spurs in case horse does something like spook, they grip AND hang onto the reins and some bad crap could happen. if the horse needs a little motivation to move forward at that level (and for a beginner my preference would be for a low energy school master), you can give them a crop which they can drop in a second if they need to.

now when you start riding traversals, piaffes and passage then you probably know what you're doing with those spurs and they're perfectly appropriate for you AND the horse.

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I have seen horses completely ruined because of spurs. :confused0024: So much that a horse won't move unless you have spurs on and sometimes even then, it is a crap shoot.

Honestly, I don't think you need spurs if your horse is trained well enough and is sensitive enough. Of course a horse in training **MAY** need them, depending on the horse.

I disagree. My mare Amber is about the most trained horse you could ever ride. So is my friend's mare Visalia. Both will get a little lazy and "cheat" when practicing or warming up if they think you don't have spurs on. You don't always have to use them, but if they know they *can* be used, they will perform properly.

In some disciplines, in the show ring, spurs are required as well. Has nothing to do with how sensitive or well trained the horse is or isn't.

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BlondyB...you don't ride cutting...do you?....

I may not have to 'use' them...but for 2 of my horses...and many others i worked with...they "knew' if you didn't at least come with them on to the party...then it wasn't something they should take very seriously.

and since in cutting classes...ya mainly cannot use , as the rider, too much of the handling in the mouth/reins....I want that horse to know I want him ripe and ready for any cue I can try to give....and if he is the type who 'thinks' b/c I do not have my spurs on...I am not gonna ask too much (ex. Tonto my paint)...I have to wear them.

Tonto will give me 100%, but it has to be when he knows I am fully equipped.

Not to mention...most of my horses also double as babysitters and green riders ride them....I know they know the difference in many ways...but most especially...the kids and green folks do not wear spurs...I do.

I always get on after they ride and go thru a quick de-briefing with the horse...to remind them that when I get on and they feel a small touch of my spur....playtime is over.

Spur training is an entity all to itself....b/c learning how "not' to use them and still have them on...is really a skill.

Edited by teampenninglady123

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I think it really depends on the situation and the type of spur. There are several different styles of humane spurs to choose from. And by situation I mean people who may have very very short legs and a very round horse, or someone with very weak legs that cannot apply enough pressure or bump the horse. Now I would never turn them out on a trail with spurs or into an event, but for pleasure and therapeutic riding yes I would if the situation warranted it. I would never use the Hollywood cowboy (the ones with the spiked wheels)spurs for any situation. If crops and humane spurs don't achieve the results its time to come up with a better training plan.

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As Equi already said, "You have to earn, your spurs."

First, had to prove that you didn't need them.

Before you were allowed to learn how to use them.

Spurs, bits,& whips are tools.

Used correctly, they can make a horse better.

Used incorrectly, they will damage or ruin a horse.

All of the horses I've know that were dull sided.

Got that way from green or idiot riders constantly thumping them with their legs/stirrups/heels over and over and over and over and over again.

In effect, the horse becomes "desensitized" to being continually thumped by the rider.

So the horse tunes out or ignores the person thumping it in the ribs.

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I have ridden with trainers (Western/H/J/ and dressage) who insisted that I rode w/ spurs every ride because it's better to have 'em and not need them than need them and not have them. But they would never put a green rider on with spurs. You can drop a crop. You can't get rid of your spurs if you're in trouble.

Knowing that the "fear instinct" of beginner riders is to clamp down and hang on for dear life, I think spurs can be mighty dangerous.

Another note is training a horse to spurs. I have seen some pretty fabulous wrecks when someone wore spurs with a horse who wasn't used to them and gave a poke and WOWZA--rodeo time.

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I swear ya'll...this thread has some GRIS GRIS and ya'll put it on me...

Was riding last night and Trey...who usually never gives me lip...was not happy about the fact that I was redirecting him on his improper lead situation....and he tryed to reclaim his 'authority' and crow hop on me...so, my foot (left) came out of the stirrup and in an attempt to...while trying to micromanage his temper fit...reclaim my stirrup...I accidentally gave him a spur in his belly....which I NEVER do!!!

Since he is a light tap kind of fella...and he felt a poke from it instead...

He went Bo-don-kers on me and we had to do an emergency brake with the one rein stop and all that jazz...I haven't had to do that with him in FOR-E-VERrrrrrr!!

Bad Jus-Jus( joojoo)......I blame this thread...it is the thread's fault...Nah!

:crazy: :crazy: :drool: :drool: :crazy: :crazy:

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Theoretically, I totally agree with the opinions that a beginner shouldn't.

On the other hand, my experience adds a different slant-

While I was learning, I wore spurs, and I was so worried about accidently touching the horse with them, it really made me very conscious of what I was doing with my legs, learned to keep my feet facing forwards (not toes out), my heels down, and using other parts of my legs- not my feet, in giving cues. I formed habits that were useful. I didn't touch the horse with them many times (I think I could count it on on hand, as the horses reaction would scare the heck out of me and make me very very careful)

Perhaps it depends on the beginner, their level of sensitivity and all, but in my case, I found it had some benefits.....

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Bluesma, I think it also matters whether or not you're a green rider under the tutelage of a real instructor vs a backyard rider learning via "if I don't get tossed today, that was success" method.

The latter certainly does teach you things. Like how to be defensive. But it often doesn't draw out actual finesse or equitation. Having learned to ride that way myself (I wasn't even allowed to have a saddle though, let alone spurs as a kid) I will say that it can make you somewhat effective, but it sure isn't good riding by my current definition!

An instructor who is controlling your speed and asking for appropriate things at appropriate time in a controlled environment might feel much more comfortable introducing spurs earlier. But still as a matter of safety, until you can control your leg, I think it's a bad idea.

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Yes you earn your spurs, and it happens late in your education. First a rider must develop the leg and seat, then learn how to correctly and effectively use a crop to get a horse out in front of their leg (I am a hunter trainer), then we can think about spurs.

I hate to see my peers stick spurs on a teeny kiddo because nappy Dobin "needs" them. Nappy Dobin usually just needs a proper spanking and kiddo needs a proper education on how to apply it. If Dobin is too much with the proper spanking then lazy pants Miss Trainer needs to put her cheeks in the seat and remind Dobins how to do the job. Spurs on kiddo are the lazy trainer's secret to temporary success.

On the flip side, spurs are necessary for proper and effective advanced riding in any mounted discipline. As someone said they cannot be dropped if in trouble so indeed having your instructor say you are ready for them is [or ought to be] an accomplishment indeed.

But an advanced rider on a well trained horse is not going to get the same performance out of that ride without spurs as with. And if you're in front of a 3'< solid fence on Ooky Gooky and you suddenly need some gas pedal NOW, they are indispensable.

But as with any precision tool, those who aren't artisans wouldn't be able to relate.

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Bluesma, I think it also matters whether or not you're a green rider under the tutelage of a real instructor vs a backyard rider learning via "if I don't get tossed today, that was success" method.

The latter certainly does teach you things. Like how to be defensive. But it often doesn't draw out actual finesse or equitation. Having learned to ride that way myself (I wasn't even allowed to have a saddle though, let alone spurs as a kid) I will say that it can make you somewhat effective, but it sure isn't good riding by my current definition!

An instructor who is controlling your speed and asking for appropriate things at appropriate time in a controlled environment might feel much more comfortable introducing spurs earlier. But still as a matter of safety, until you can control your leg, I think it's a bad idea.

Makes sense. The instructor I started with was of the opinion that since the horse was used to them, and I would have to learn to use them correctly eventually, I should start with them from the beginning, to keep me from "developing bad habits". Since then I have tried to make sense of this with my mind, and could only come up with bad habits as being kicking the horse, or like with using a very mild or unprecise bit, one can get used to "pulling" more when they are learning- which makes them use too heavy a hand when they are introduced to a leverage bit!

So his thinking may have been start off obligated to use a lighter hand, or a lighter heel, and you'll not have to learn to lighten up later?

I dunno.....I hate to see a newbie jerking on a horses face, or digging spurs into a horse though.

I'm just trying to see varied circumstances.

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I have seen horses completely ruined because of spurs. :confused0024: So much that a horse won't move unless you have spurs on and sometimes even then, it is a crap shoot.

I don't see spurs as the problem, spurs can do nothing on there own! They must be attached to a boot, that is put on a foot, that is attached to a body, that has a brain. It's the brain that is the problem, and always will be when it comes to training a horse.

People must be taught to use spurs as well as hands, seat, and legs. If under proper supervision I see no reason a beginner couldn't wear spurs.

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