One of my favorite books as a kid was Winning Your Spurs. I dreamed about the time when I would be old enough — and skilled enough — to earn the privilege of wearing them.
Fast forward to the time when I was able to wear spurs. For several years, I wore them proudly. Then I discovered I didn’t need them. I learned that spurs were not a “go faster” aid, but were a “listen to me” reminder. And my horses were listening just fine. Kroni was a horse that I rode mostly off my seat. Freedom is so sensitive that I just have to think about what I want him to do.
Zelda is most likely in shock. After having six weeks off and spending 13 hours in a trailer. She’s discovered the holiday is over. She has been testing me this week to make sure that she can’t extend it for a few more weeks. She’s not a mean horse, just naughty. She figures that she’s big enough to call the shots and maybe convince me that she makes a very attractive lawn ornament.
So I found myself a pair of spurs. I’d forgotten how useful spurs can be until I road my friend Suzanne’s horse, Sugar. Sugar doesn’t need spurs to make her go faster; she’s got plenty of get up and go. But they are an excellent “pay attention” aid.
The spurs I used were tiny but they made the point (literally). For the first time this week I got forward. A few head shakes got the new response and, low and behold, she stopped doing it. All of a sudden she was offering clean walk/trot transitions and kept trotting as long as I wanted without any nagging. “Oh,” she said. “I guess you’re serious.”
Let’s see how they work tomorrow!
2 thoughts on “Winning my Spurs”
I haven’t worn spurs in over a year and have been debating putting them back on. My horse has a tendency to want to lean on my left leg (avoiding carrying on his weaker right hind leg), and they seem like they would be a subtle “no, hold yourself up” – but at the same time I’m working on more subtlety in all my cueing and know I tend to get reliant on an aid like that. I initially removed the spurs after a bad injury, and it’s only recently I have felt like I have enough control of my left leg to even think about it.