Spur/Boot Rubs?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 9 voices, and was last updated by kmcphee kmcphee 2 years, 11 months ago.

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  • ShaeStuart Original Poster ShaeStuart
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 5

    My horse has a super thick coat and occasionally I use spurs with him, but not very often. He has these spots where my heels touch him that aren’t as furry as if they are going to bald completely. I don’t know if they’re from the spurs or just my boots. Should I be worried about this? Or is that normal for a furry horse since I’m pressing my heels into him pretty firmly when I ride? (He’s pretty lazy) Thanks!

    "The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears."

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Funny I saw this today… I am having the same issue.. have you had any responses to this? I thought maybe I was using my spurs too much on her side causing the rubbing.

    Annie Eldridge
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    I’ve had this happen before. I ultimately discovered the reason … I
    Used to wear my spurs over half-chaps. Because they didn’t really fit
    Over my half- chaps, the loose spurs caused the rub. Wasn’t a
    Problem if I wore properly adjusted spurs over boots. Also, be
    Careful of loose-fitting half-chaps(especially if they become
    Unzipped near your foot, as they often do.( Make sure that the little
    Strap on the bottom of your half-chaps remains fastened.)

    You also might try using a dressage whip in place of your spurs.Your
    Horse needs to respond to a lighter leg aid, and a dressage whip
    Should help you in your training.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    Keep you heels out of the horse’s sides, unless absolutely necessary. Instead, use your seat, thighs, knees and lower legs independently. One way to help with the change is to ride without stirrups.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 1

    Hello Shae
    My horse was very sluggish and seamed lazy and slow his coat was very thick in winter and he was very slow in shedding it. I found that he had metabolic issues and was pre cushings also the danger of insuline resistance was eminent. There are ways to regulate that with one supplement I use. It is Heiro and my horse started shedding the first week and is very eager and ready to work since I started this once a day with am grain and no whip or other aids are needed.You have to cut out rich hays no sugars and something like safe choice or safe n easy as daily grain.
    I hope you will get the same results as I have because usually the horses behavior is a result of chemestry and or structual issues. You can use tools to force a horse to go but you do not resolve the issue and underling problem.
    Good luck

    G & S
    Topics Started: 16Replies Posted: 253

    It sounds to me like a big part of the problem is that you have accidentally taught the horse to ignore your heel cues, First, Joe-Joe has an excellent point that you may always have your heels touching him, so when you do use them to ask more power, or more forward, or more anything, it is as if they are just more standard background noise. And he ignores them. This is especially true of horses that tend to be a bit lazy. He is interpreting your cues to mean what he is most comfortable with, which in the case means he does nothing. Horses are incredibly sensitive to a rider’s weight and leg cues. But they have to be taught to listen to you when you “whisper” cues to him. Try riding with a crop or, if you can manage, a longer dressage whip. You will want to carry the whip or crop in your inside hand, and carry the whip so it is laying behind your leg close to the horse’s body. Before I go any further, you must always keep in mind that the crop/whip is not a cue, it is a correction. A “hey, I asked you for something, where is it!” And for the horse to hear a “whispered” cue, the rider must not be creating background noise with legs, contantly jiggling the bit, moving around in the saddle, etc.

    Once you can ride with your toes turned in so that your heels are not on the horse, ask for a stronger, more vigorous gait. The trot or jog is the easiest one to start with. When nothing happens, ask again politely and when the horse ignores you a 2nd time, use the crop or whip once, sharply, behind your inside leg. Then calm the horse down, and repeat. It seldom takes that much to teach a horse to listen to your “whispered” cues, but it does take patience, and a total absence of anger. He is not being punished, he is being told to listen to the whipered cue. And it is critical that you keep in mind that the cue is NOT the whip or crop. It is your leg & heel. The whip is the way you point out the to the horse that 1) “Horse are not listening to me” and 2) “I, the rider, am in charge and I fully expect you to acknowledge my whispered cues.”

    Yes, it will take some work, but if you remember to calm the horse down so he understands that he is not being punished for something when he has no idea what he did wrong,rather that you are merely pointing out that something was requested and ignoring the request is no longer an option. You will need to be ready to comfort a confused horse, and not get angry. This is your equine partner, your friend, but you need to sort out the lines of communication. And never more than one sharp tap with the crop or whip. Some resistance is normal, until he figures out the change you are making. It can help to maintain your sense of humor, and to keep your body relaxed. Just as he is capable of feeling the lightest touch of your heels, so can he also feel tension in your body, and misinterpreting it.

    Joe-Joe Joe-Joe
    Topics Started: 17Replies Posted: 1205

    The sensitivity of different breeds, and individual horses within those breeds is also important. If I used heels on my horse, we would be in the next county. If I used a crop or spurs, we would likely land in Portugal. I have found that, with some horses, smacking one’s boot with the crop will get the attention desired. A crop or whip is merely an extension of one’s arm, and should never be used in a harsh manner. As an example, when I longe my boy, all I need to do is raise the whip higher to change to a faster gait, and lower it to slow him down. I never need to do anything more with it. When riding, I use a dressage whep to touch (not smack, not hit, merely touch) certain parts to cue him for what I want him to do, and the more I work with him, the less I have to do that. Right now, the two horses I have are Arabians, and so are more sensitive than many, as well as being very quick to learn. But, I have also worked the Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses and crosses – some may take longer than others, but all were willing and able to learn. A quiet rider will always get a better response, because the horse will be more aware that s/he is being asked to do something such as change gait, direction, etc. I have seen a lot of people bring horses, saying that he won’t do whatever, only to have the horse do it perfectly with a different rider. We can all learn, but be prepared to put in a lot of time and groundwork to get where we want to go.

    It is never the horse's fault

    Mapale Mapale
    Topics Started: 4Replies Posted: 421

    If you are maintaining pressure with your spurs enough to remove hair, you will deaden the sensitivity of the nerves in that area, and inure your horse to signals.* Additionally he’s figured that nothing he does removes the pressure, so he learns to ignore you. If he requires constant heel pressure to move forward, then heel pressure is not a functioning cue at this point. Try using the short crop as G & S good advice suggests. Desensitizing the horse to the crop prior to riding with it helps the horse to accept the correction without resentment or fear.

    You might also try calf pressure rather than heel pressure – important on this cue to use a quick release with any movement forward.

    *Have you ever seen a vet repeatedly tap an area prior to vaccinating your horse there? He’s using your current forward cue method to numb the area prior to injection. Your horse may not be lazy, he could just be numb where you are jabbing him. I don’t mean to be harsh – just present you with another possibility – one that is easier to fix than laziness. That’s the good news.

    Alois Podhajsky: “When I hear somebody talk about a horse being stupid, I figure it’s a sure sign that animal has outfoxed them. ...

    TBeventer TBeventer
    Topics Started: 3Replies Posted: 22

    Just chipping in to what the commenters are saying as I am in agreement with you are over-using your spurs.

    Spurs are an aid that is meant to be used within the same means as a crop. A crop is used to get your horse in front of the leg. Use of the crop is a quick, sharp action in effort to get a response out of your horse. Too often we see young riders poking the horse with their spurs every time they post and this is incorrect. If you need to send your horse forward give him a sharp kick with the spurs and then relax and keep them off of him. If I were you I’d take off your spurs and as others mentioned use a dressage whip to achieve the same desired affect.

    kmcphee kmcphee
    Topics Started: 0Replies Posted: 4

    For a quick fix, though not the best one, I have seen people use this:


    Truthfully, you are over-using your spurs and I have done the same thing MULTIPLE times- for me, it was an issue of riding position- I turned my toes out too much, which was causing me to inadvertently rub the horses side with my spurs. Once I started riding with my toes pointing straight ahead and only turning them out to use the spurs, the rubs disappeared.

    I would also recommend a roller ball spur, like this:


    They kind of glide over your horses side, so there is less friction to produce a rub. The other thing is making your horse more sensitive to the spurs. be FIRM when you want to use them, and relax as much as possible with them away from the horses sides when you don’t. 🙂

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