“WHIPS ARE TO BE USED SO THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE WHIPS”
“SPURS ARE TO BE WORN SO THAT YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE SPURS”
I think that about explains how I feel about the use of both of these aids. In other words, if you have your horse listening and respectful to your leg aids, you should not have to use a whip or a spur. They should be carried or worn but only ‘In case of ‘ In case your horse has an ignorant attack and needs a reminder, but never for constant use.
Long legged riders’ are lucky in that they can wear spurs all of the time but they only come in contact with the horse when required. Shorter people have to learn to keep their feet in such a perfect position that the spur is not always touching the horse.
If you ride with spurs continually touching a horse, it is not only going to become dead to leg but it will also become dead to spur I have seen people literally wear the rowels off spurs on horses that have become dead to the leg.
KIDS AND PONY CLUB
This is where I see spurs and whips abused most. Imho, kids should never be given anything but ‘dummy’ spurs and only little short whips. The most common problem that I see is ponies getting constantly spurred or whipped and for no good reason. They become browned off, it is not fair to horses and it is not teaching kids good riding skills.
THE LEVEL OF USE
As with anything to do with the training of horses, I am a firm believer that aids and pressure of all description should be put on horses by using the scale zero to ten. The golden rule of ‘starting with the minimum and only increasing pressure to the point where the horse responds is absolutely crucial when talking about artificial aids.
Even more important is the realization that if one gets a horse to move off a spur at a level of 4 that the very next time the same exercise is requested, that the rider start with a level of one, not a 4. This way, the horse is always given the opportunity to lighten, down the scale. Remember, if you use them with my opening remarks in mind, you will come to fully understand what subtleties should be given.
The lightest of light horses are always ridden by the riders who understand the above principals the best.
The worst, most ignorant and heavy horses are always ridden by riders’ who understand these principals the least. These riders lack sophistication and pass through life never having found “The one thing” How sad?
The only time I ever use spurs, is on the Day I teach the Leg Yield and only then, to push or poke a Horse…..NEVER to kick………
and as for the Racehorse…….they will never understand that the closer you get to the Winning Post the more you get hit