Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Spurs...how, when, why

When my daughter started riding Indie she had a really hard time communicating with him as to what she was asking.  He was primarily trained using your legs.  We’ll she being only ten struggled to get enough pressure into him to tell him what she wanted.  Besides the fact that before her his primary rider was an adult.  When Maddie asked him with her legs her leg position is in a completely different location than an adult.  We found the best way to remedy this was for her to use spurs on him with a very long shank.  She was taught from the moment she put them on how to respect the spurs and how to properly use them on her horse.  It took her a while to get the hang of them and know the correct pressure to use, but once she figured it out she and Indie really started to become a team.

Spurs are a very controversial topic in riding and training.  I myself was very anti spur until I learned the proper way to use them.  I was very afraid I would harm my horse.  I quickly learned with proper training spurs can be very helpful when working with your horse.

There are two key points to using spurs: understanding when is the proper time is to use them and what type of spurs to use. 

First when to use spurs.  Martin Black a former write for, America’s Horse, wrote about using spurs he said “You can relate it to a child disregarding your warning of something being “hot” in order to touch it for themselves until they feel the burning sensation. A squeeze with our leg or legs is the warning “Hot!” and the contact with the spur is the burning sensation.” 

Secondly what is the best option for spurs.  There are many things to consider such as what you are using them for, what type of riding you are doing, your experience with spurs and will you have guidance on how to use them properly.

There were to websites I located which had wonderful information on these two topics.



Spurs can be a very useful training aid if you train yourself properly on using them as well as find the right fit for you and your horse.





  1. The trainer Bob Allen once told me wearing spurs is like a sheriff carrying a gun. He doesn't plan to use it every day or even very often, but when he needs it he has it. I always wear spurs and only rarely have to use them. But if I am not wearing them my horse takes notice!

    1. Wow..smart man! I couldn't agree with you more.

  2. Then there are those that wear spurs to look the part of cowboy or cowgirl. They really have no idea how to use the spurs properly, but make sure their spurs are the flashiest, biggest, jingling, jangling spurs out there.

    1. So funny! I have seen them. My parents owned a ranch in eastern oregon and I had more fun seeing these people a the store. I wanted so badly to ask them how they were planning on using those in their apartment...LOL

  3. I've seen people wear them at a show, yet not have a horse there. This is hilarious to me. Just trying to look like a cowboy.

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  20. I'm not putting spurs on until I've ridden 1000 rides. and not just "passenger" rides, I mean serious practice and lessons where I'm 100% focused. My leg is currently not quiet enough for a spur. Granted, I'm having some difficulty with my lesson horse responding to my inside leg, but it gets better every time. I practice on one of those big yoga balls, just to learn how my muscles accomplish that squeeze without moving my leg so far back.