Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Gee, thanks": Gifts for equestrian frenemies II


As we enter the holiday season, our thoughts may turn to fellow gifts for riders -- those we really, really like, and well, those that we might consider frenemies.  You know who I mean. Don't we all know someone who: 
  • asks "Was that supposed to be a shoulder-in?"
  • says "it's so great that you can still enjoy training level year after year."
  • Coos over your horse when you're within earshot, but complains to others that he's spoiled and annoying.
There's something to be said for getting even--or at least fantasizing about it :-). Yes, consider retaliation in the form of a passive-agressive gesture. Bury the knife in a show of holiday generosity.

Hey, what about the Spursuader (pictured upper right), which the ad says is  "made especially for the rider with an uneducated lower leg?" I'm half-expecting to get one as a gift, and to be honest I'd like to get a pair! I think the spur looks like  a kind and gentle aid.

I guess it can be for "real" friends too. :-)  By the way I have no frenemies that I know of -- this is all in fun.


  1. I saw this in the tack shop and thought it was cool, which horrified the girl working there. Yes they are kinda silly/dorky, but I thought that, potentially, the metal of the spur could help deliver a clearer, more specific aid without any sharpness. Even though I consider my lower leg "educated" I still sometimes feel bad about wearing spurs.

    Which reminds me: I think it's important to carry a dressage whip while wearing spurs so that if you need to give the horse a kick/whack you aren't doing it with a sharp metal spike. Agree? Disagree?

  2. I'm not big on spurs unless you're an upper level rider -- have always heard their a refining aid not a forward aid. Use sparingly?

    I think judicious, well-timed use of a whip can work really well.

  3. I love these:) Awesome idea.

    @Sarah...I completely agree with you on the whip/spurs discussion. I have ridden for 7 years, collectively, and have never worn a pair of spurs. I use a dressage whip as an extension of my legs...as I have very short ones:) (I'm 5'4")

    I'm sure one of these days I will need to wear them...but until then - the whip works just fine for that gentle tap to get the point across.

  4. I've found myself watching at shows and fantasizing about spurs that deliver an electric shock - to the rider.

  5. Spurs are required at the upper levels. They really do help refine an aid and can put the aid on at a very specific point.

    They are also a help with a rider whose leg doesn't fit the horse well, allowing a cue without a lot of leg movement to reach the horse.

    Used badly, they can, of course, injure a horse. They can also make a horse even more dull to the aids, just as repeated leg aids can.

    I think of them as a kind of "extension" to the leg aid, just as a whip might be.

  6. As I'm working more on lateral work, I've considered re-adding spurs. Whenever I do, we will have to have some training sessions focused on responding to spurs. The current reaction from my horse is upward regardless of how the spurs are used. (A clinician recently got on my horse while wearing spurs. After the first try, she didn't touch him with them again, as it was easier than dealing with his lack of spur education.) I have considered using those - a sort of training wheel of spurs. My horse is very sensitive in general, but could use the refinement for canter vs. lift inside hind leg vs. move shoulder vs. move haunches vs. just give me FORWARD. I think he'd ultimately be happier. I'm one of those people w/ short legs who therefore has limited range of where they can move - good for equitation, not as good for being super useful, so whatever helps is a positive.

  7. I don't have a clue why the spur is any different, and because I don't have a horse or ride a horse, you don't need to educate me but I do like your idea of giving gifts to frenemies. And it seems to me people who have horses are no different than people who have small children.

  8. These are a fabulous idea and all my horses go well with them! If I need that little bit more I will pick up a stick to re-inforce the "Go". Otherwise I need just the finesse of this spur to get the lateral work, forwardness with a calmer horse. Not every horse goes in the same bit, not every horse responds the same to spurs. It is a tool to add to your toolbag.


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