Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Rider's Wednesday -- Non-Slip Spurs

I recently received this e-mail from a friend who has participated in the last clinic Clinton Anderson gave in the area:

I didn't know if you knew much about Clinton's spurs or not. They say that they do not move on the boot. That is the main issue I have with my spurs, and the rubber spur straps don't work. When I apply pressure, especially rolling the spur like Clinton showed me for bending, they move up then I have no leverage.

Anyways, I was wondering if his were worth the money... If I don't have to go through 101 different rubber things and stop training to keep adjusting them it might be worth it. What is your opinion?

I've never been a huge spur fan, but have nothing against them if they're used correctly. Clinton advocates rolling the spur against the horse's ribcage rather than stabbing the horse in the sides. Spurs are to be used to teach the horse to differentiate between body parts, and move his hindquarters, barrel, and front end independently of one another.

I agree that the rubber heel straps that are supposed to keep your spurs from sliding around on the boot don't work. They'll break just from walking around, as often as not -- and then they're useless.

Clinton's spurs have a metal flange that extends a short distance up and down the back of the boot. This extends the surface area of the spur on the heel and makes it much less likely to move. I've seen the spurs in action, and they work. I've never worn them, though, and don't own them.

If I were doing a lot of training, riding a lot of horses, and wearing spurs all day, however, they would be my first choice. They're not fancy. The shanks are short, and they are available in both rowelled and unrowelled options. These spurs aren't for punishment or for show -- they're training aids that consistently stay where they're supposed to so you can concentrate on your horse.