Many more experienced riders choose to use spurs when riding. Spurs are a metal tool designed to wear around the heel of a riding boot. They are used as an aid to direct the horse, much like a riding crop. There are many different kinds of spurs from small, pony spurs to longer, even 2 inch long spurs. However, many wonder if spurs hurt the horse, and we will look at the matter a bit more in this article.
What are spurs used for?
Spurs are made to help the rider to direct the horse better. Mainly, riding spurs make the horse react to smaller aids, thus making riding easier. For instance, many slow horses require the help of a spur or a riding crop to keep their pace. Sometimes, riders choose to use both spurs and a riding crop.
Spurs are by no means a punishment, nor should they ever be used as such. On the contrary: the purpose is to make the horse react to smaller, more invisible aids.
In fact, spurs (or fake spurs) are mandatory at dressage shows. In showjumping, the rider can choose to use spurs or leave them out. Regardless, when attending horse shows, there are rules and regulations when it comes to the use of spurs and spurs types.
Do spurs hurt the horse?
Frankly put, spurs do not hurt the horse if they are used correctly. Spurs should never be used by an inexperienced rider: in order to use spurs, you have to be experienced enough to be able to control your leg and not squeeze the horse's sides for support.
If used wrong, spurs can cause the skin to scratch, and in some cases, even bleed a little bit. Sometimes, this is not due to the rider's inability to use spurs correctly, but simply due to the horse's sensitive skin.
Choose your spurs correctly
There are many types of spurs on the market, ranging from ballpoint spurs to Prince of Wales and everything in between. The smaller and softer the spurs are, the gentler they are to the horse. Some horses, however, require a little bit more get up and go, so for them, longer Prince of Wales spurs, for instance, may be a great option.
If you do not know what kind of spurs you should get, you can always consult y our trainer. Additionally, a customer representative at a tack store might be able to point you in the right direction.
Have you seen Ophena stirrups yet?
While we have you here with us, have you seen our magnetic safety stirrups yet? If not, take a look at our Ophena S and Ophena S Pro stirrups and read some reviews. Our stirrups are loved by equestrians all over the world. Also, don't forget to take a peek at our beautiful saddle pad.