A wonderful person named Linda Hauck contacted me about a product she created called Spursuader™ and kindly asked if I’d be interested in trying it out.
Although Linda and I had only conversed via email, I immediately felt that she’s a kind person who genuinely cares about a horse’s well-being.
I mentioned to Linda that I may have a slightly different opinion on spurs than she does, and that I believe the use of spurs is often abused and misunderstood. That doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in using them. When it’s time to take your horse to higher levels of communication, then yes, they’re helpful.
I loved Linda’s response to my comment about spurs. Her mission is clear, and what she shared with me puts that in perspective:
We probably aren’t too far apart on how we view the purpose and use of spurs. Many years of riding sensitive horses, and watching horses being ‘abused’ by improper spur use, led me to design Spursuader… one way to ‘help make their lives better.’ Unfortunately we can’t always tell people what they are doing wrong, but this may be a step in the right direction.” ~ Linda Hauck
Using the Spursuader™
Linda sent me a pair of spurs to try, and they sat in my office for several months without being used. During that time, I hadn’t been riding much due to inclement weather, but once it improved I consistently started to ride my young horse, Ransom.
Ransom is exceptionally light to my hands and legs. He’s also probably one of the most opinionated horses on the planet, and I love that about him! Therefore, anytime I’m having an off day, he lets me know when I’m not communicating as effectively as I should.
Needless to say, since I’ve never used spurs while riding him, this was a new experience for both of us. I’ve started introducing him to more advanced lateral maneuvers, and I was pleased with the results when using the Spursuader. Ransom was not offended at all by the spurs and his responsiveness was fantastic.
I’m a firm believer that if you’ve approached your horse’s development in the right way, there’s no need for spurs unless you want to refine your communication and work on maneuvers requiring finesse, or when working with cattle. Wearing spurs when doing cattle work can be a life-saver for you and your horse. 🙂
What I don’t believe in, is the opposite approach which is teaching a horse to become dependent on your spurs – sometimes referred to as a “spur trained” horse.
Since I live in one of the largest horse areas in the country, you can hardly go into any store or restaurant without seeing someone wearing spurs. If I was a betting person, I’d bet that about 98% of the people who wear spurs are wearing them for the wrong reasons, and they’re more than likely misusing them.
In some circles, spurs have gotten a bad reputation, and rightfully so. However, spurs are not an evil tool to totally avoid like some may think.
Any tool or technique, when applied with the wrong attitude and without enough knowledge, can be misused.” ~ Stephanie Krahl
Spurs are great for refining communication, however, if you’re using them in a way that’s inappropriate, then communication is degraded rather than enhanced.
The Spursuader allows for more refined communication, but in a gentler and kinder manner than traditional spurs.
The Spursuader Design
I was pleasantly surprised by the design of the Spursuader.
Some spurs have a shank or neck (this is what extends from the back of the heel band and is the area that usually touches the horse) that I would consider too long. If you wear a spur that has a long shank, it’s likely you’ll touch your horse constantly with your spur without realizing it.
Horses are masters at letting us know if something offends them. Have you ever seen someone using spurs inappropriately and their horse swishes her tale and pins her ears?
The Spursuader has a nice short shank and has a beveled edge in place of where the rowel of some traditional spurs would attach. This is a nice design for two reasons. When a shank is short, it’s unlikely you’ll unintentionally touch your horse with your spur. You’ll almost be forced to apply your spur appropriately.
Additionally, the more beveled edge is great for those who either have extremely sensitive horses or for a horse person still learning how to properly use spurs.
And as Linda said, “Unfortunately we can’t always tell people what they are doing wrong, but this may be a step in the right direction.”
For those of us wanting to help cause change in the world for horses, this statement is something to keep in mind. We often ask for too much change from people too soon when they’re not ready. I’ve been guilty of that myself. Unfortunately, it’s human nature and it’s not an effective way to help our friend the horse.
After trying out the Spursuader with my guy Ransom, I can say that I plan to keep a set in my bag of tools. They work as effectively as traditional spurs, so why not Spursade your horse? 🙂
The Spursuader comes in both English and Western styles. You can swing by their website for more details: http://www.spursuader.com
I hope you’ve found this review helpful. There are many opinions on the use of spurs. What’s your view?
Keep it soulful,