Saturday, July 2, 2011

Question on Spurs

I received these questions from David regarding the use of spurs: ”Sir, could you explain to me the reasons why the use of spurs and what type of spurs you use? I am beginning to learn how to team rope and am riding a borrowed horse. The owner and other people he lets ride this horse all ride with spurs. I have let to buy any and am wondering if I need them, why and what kind so I need.” Thank you, David

David, I do use spurs and I like to think that I use them judiciously, meaning I don’t gouge the horse or stay in his barrel with them. I have had a comment or two from people, seeing me with spurs on videos, telling me that I should learn how to ride without them. I think that if they are used correctly, spurs can be a good aid to a rider, without making the horse suffer.

I have also seen horses get really desensitized to spurs from riders who are too heavy legged. I use spurs because I can and because if I need a horse to respond to a cue in a bad situation, then I may need him to respond now and not hesitate.

I rode up a steep, rocky, stepped incline one day and when I topped out there sat a Bull Oryx. An Oryx is an African Antelope with straight horns, really a beautiful animal, but the first time this Paint Gelding, named Chance, ever saw an Oryx. Chance spun around once then started to back sideways towards this steep rocky incline, just a few feet next to us, I had just topped out on. Glad I had spurs to help me move him away from the edge or I may not be writing this to you this day. As it was the Oryx, stood up and meandered off and we made it through that lesson in one piece.

I really only have a couple sets of spurs. One long shanked set of jingle bobs which I long longer ride with but had used for ceremonial events; and a set each of short shank and medium shank spurs each with a 10 or 12 point blunt spur rowel of an approximate diameter of 1 and ¼ inch. The medium shank spurs are for when I need just alittle longer reach to rotate by leg and heel to be able to touch the horse’s barrel.

Although some spurs can be harsher than others, it’s more how they are used. Even with spurs you are still using your seat, your legs, your calf then if necessary the spur to provide the right cue to your horse.

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