Spurs on Steen

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We had more storms today, so were stuck inside again. We brought Bear and Steen in, thinking we’d have a nice, relaxing ride. But these storms have been cool, and the horses get pretty tense in this kind of weather. Both of them were a tad ansty while we were getting them ready.

I have been meaning to see how Steen responds to my spurs for a while now, but when we watched Richard Caldwell’s video the other day, he had a whole section on spurs, and how in his opinion they are the most overlooked and misunderstood tool in horsemanship. He emphasized that a spur (just like a bit) is not worn to intimidate or harm the horse, but to facilitate communication.

I have been feeling lately like Steen and I are a little stuck. We have so many great things going, and he’s at a level I honestly never thought I’d get him to, but our progress has stalled in the last couple of weeks. I thought I would see what this new tool could do for us.

Steen was full of energy when I got on, and for the first portion of the ride he was moving off my legs alone with so much energy there was no need to engage the spur at all. I did brush his sides with them when I got on, so he knew they were there. I’m not sure how much of it was his overall nerves, and how much of it was the spurs, but he had so much life I could get him to do anything. Particularly, I felt like I had way increased control of his front end, and a lot more energy in the front end as well. Often it feels like Steen can be slow about bringing his front end through turns. Not the case today. Sorry for the blurry photo, but you can see below I’m asking him to step his front end off my right leg. He’s tucking his butt and moving into the space left opening by the opening of my left leg.

We also had a huge increase in precision. Our sidepasses were better, our leg-yields were better, our moving the front end around was better. The only thing that was a little worse was our canter departures, just because I was trying to figure out how to ask him to pick up the correct lead without surprising him.

All in all, it was a very interesting experience. I think I’ll continue to ride Steen in spurs for a little while.

Ride Time: 0:55
Horseback Hours YTD: 71:05

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9 years ago

Spurs can be a great tool but I find they're hard to adjust to!