Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spurs or Whips?

We all hope we have a willing horse, but we have to play with what we are delt. If you have a lazy horse, you will find they are quick to learn that they would rather be poked in the side with a tennis shoe than to speed up. You will also find it is hard to set a lazy horses head, because you are releasing the pressure on his mouth hoping to try to get him to move forward. The first thing I suggest is, do not ride in tennis shoes. It is not only dangerous, but they are not at all affective in stimulating the horse to move forward. If you are a novice, I suggest you use a riding crop instead of spurs. Spurs are not bad if you learn to use them correctly, but you should never use them if you are trying to hold yourself on the horse with your legs. Wait until you have learned your balance. When riding with a whip or spurs never use them on the same side all the time as this will get your horse going sideways and not tracking straight. When I am riding in the ring, I will put my whip toward the center of the ring or use my spur on that side. Most horses have a tendency to want to go toward the center of the ring for several reasons. Most of the time that is where we stop and talk with our friends or where we stopt to rest. When a horse wants to shy away from the rail, most riders will try to pull the head back toward the rail. This will cause the hind quarters to swing toward the center of the ring. If you use your whip or your spurs on the side next to the center of the ring it will encourage him to keep his hind quarters on the rail along with his head. Therefore keeping him tracking straight. If a horse is not tracking straight it will make him take a longer stride with one side. Therefore, he will not be level in his gait.

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