September 27, 2002, Newsletter Issue #92: Use of the Artificial Aids

Tip of the Week

A Whip and Spurs should never, ever be used on a horse in anger, ever. The whip, or spurs are only to reinforce the application of the leg of the rider upon the horse. Both Artificial aids are used only for this purpose in Riding, no matter the Discipline ridden.

Western Spurs are to be used to assist the leg in asking a horse to move forward. A Spur is not to be used for any other reason. You must develop control of the leg and foot, before you can properly use a spur. Depending upon the type of Discipline used, and the horse, will determine the spur that may or may not be necessary. It is better to begin with a blunt end spur first, and then increase if you are sure that your horse is not and will not respond in properly moving forward at the moment of command from the seat and leg aid that has been given. Western Spurs are always to point OUT and AWAY from the horse when the Rider is mounted. The Rider always turns the ankle and foot downward and inward to bring the spur into use when necessary, again, only to support the command given by the leg and seat. The leg should always remain as close to the girth area as possible when using a spur, especially on a green horse, or with a Green Rider. In Western Riding, a spur with sharp edges or rowels is permitted. Be sure to read your Rule Book before you enter the Ring with a Rowel or Ragged Edge Spur. Some classes and some Breeds will not allow a Rowel Spur. A spur should never exceed one and a quarter inches in length. The buckle and strap of the spur should always be fastened on the outside of the foot, and the lash of the spur strap should always lay facing downwards once fastened. Most all Western Spurs fasten from the outside clip, down and under the boot, and then over and across the top. Again, use the link to my home site to view correct fit of a Western Spur.

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