View Full Version : Spurs. Wester Vs English

08-02-07, 02:57 PM
Carrying on from the Dressage Judge post, did my first dressage tests the other week.

Horse normally ridden in western spurs. They are human spurs. About 1.5" swan neck (i am short) with flower disk (no pointy bits - just like a huge tap washer) rowell. the rowell is also 1.5 inch across approx.

Normally I roll them up and down horsey ribcage if/when I have to use a bit of spur. Like someone rolling their finger down your ribs to tickle.

I had no idea about english spurs never having bought or worn them before so tried to find some kind of like my western ones. So I got Prince of Wales with a long shank, again about 1.5".

I try to use them like my western spurs (ie roll roll not jab jab) but horsey just gets all tail swishy and head snakey and misses my point completely (spur = lower head and relax while lift ribs) so what happens is head up, back hollow, kicky outie.

Any suggestions? What is this poor pathetic creature (ie: me) doing so wrong?


08-02-07, 03:11 PM
**They are human spurs. **

Whoops. Before anyone thinks I am a weirdo they are HUMANE spurs. Phew!

08-02-07, 03:53 PM
Oaky I can tell ya exactly why your horse is not happy - using the same motion as the rowel spurs, you will be catching his skin with the end of the blunt spur and hoisting it up. I'd be pissy too ;)

May I recommend the dressage spurs I use, which are english long shank with a small 3/4" blunt flower rowel. You can use them just like your western ones, but they are smaller looking and more acceptable to the dressage community, I would think :) Exactly the same effect.

08-02-07, 03:56 PM
I don't believe in spurs or whips, I thing they are cruel.
Sorry, but thats just the way I am!!!

08-02-07, 04:00 PM
ROFLMAO @ Jasmine i guess we wont see you entering any higher level competitions then!

Never keep up with the Joneses. Drag them down to your level. It's cheaper!

08-02-07, 04:00 PM
In the wrong hands, yes, so is a horse's bit. :)


08-02-07, 04:08 PM
Jasmine, I don't want to turn this into a debate, but could you please explain why you think that whips and spurs are cruel?


08-02-07, 04:11 PM
Well, okay... let me rephrase that.
I thing people whipping their horses extremely hard (leaving marks, cuts ect.)
I think people kicking their horses in the sides (leaving holes & sores)
Do you understand now?

08-02-07, 04:15 PM
jasmine, what do you think spurs and whips are used for?
they have a far greater purpose then making a horse go faster or whacking it when being bad! i think spurs are great if used in the right way, like vicki said, a bit can be cruel if in the wrong hands.
even with really soft horses a gentle nudge can achieve better elevation than without them.

08-02-07, 04:18 PM
Yes. thankyou. :)


08-02-07, 04:19 PM
Yes, I see what you mean. I use voice commands but on other peoples horses I use physical commands. To tell the truth I have even ridden with a schooling whip (never used it!!!)

08-02-07, 04:21 PM
Yes thanks crunchie. It's all about precission, Jasmine. :)


08-02-07, 04:50 PM
I will explain how and why I use spurs and maybe that will help :)

Why I use them: becuase I would like to re-educate my gelding to learn to GO from a light nudge of my calf, so I do not need to kick him with my heels. I ask him to go with my calf, ask again, and then I will giggle him with the spur to say no, you did not listen, now we have some spur. Becuase the spur is harder to ignore than my heel, he then goes. The next time I ask with my calf, he remembers that if he does not go, he gets the spur, so he goes on the calf. In this way I make him a little uncomfortable for a few weeks, but in the long run I am trying to show him to go from a light touch of calf which will be a lot nicer for him.

How I use them: I turn my heel in slightly so I can actually reach his sides (he is very round in the barrel and my lower leg is usually well away from him) and I rub him with the rowel on my spur. The rowel is very blunt with rounded edges and spins freely. What happens is that the rowel rolls over his skin so he can feel it, but it does not pinch him. It is not unlike a fat pizza wheel or ravioli cutter rolling over your arm. This is uncomfortable for him, and annoying, so he goes.

When I get off my gelding after riding, there is not even a rubbed mark on his sides where the rowel went. You would never know :) I use them enough to get the job done and no more, and never to punish him; only ever to say to him "hey! listen to my calf".

Anyone where you see there are holes, lumps, cuts, blood, bruising, that is definitely getting abusive with the spurs.

09-02-07, 12:17 AM
Jasmine, how about you watch, listen and learn?
Spurs are a refinement tool.

Oakey poke, a fixed spur (ie: not a rowel) is designed to be touched to the horse's side, like poking your finger rather than running your finger over the skin. It's really to make your leg aid clearer and more precise - a fingertip rather than the flat of your hand.

09-02-07, 12:41 AM

OakeyPoke as your post has been hijacked into a spurs vs no spurs debate, just though I'd let you know. You can buy 'English' spurs that have the flat washer type rowel. Go to your saddlery and get the staff to have a look through their catalogues. These are not hard to get, but would probably have to be ordered in. This will solve your problem.

09-02-07, 01:37 AM
Thankyou guys! You are wonderful!!

All the info I needed (and more :-D)

One question - are the little english rowells acceptable in competition? You guys mean the ones that are barely noticeable rowells? I have seen ones with rowells about 1/2" in diameter but I thought they were not acceptable?

This would be lower level dressage and maybe some Ag show Hunter classes in our future.

To clarify the person who thought I may be abusing my horse (no offence taken, I meet a lot of people who are unsure) I have a one to 10 type system. So if he doesnt work up at 1 (leg) I go to 2 (more leg) 3 (leg and voice) 4 (leg, voice, seat) 5 (leg voice seat, brush with spur) 6 (rowell up and down ribcage).
Its not a poke poke sensation, but just like If I ticked you with my finger. What does that do? Causes you to change your body shape and round your back as you back off the tickleing sensation.
Same thing for the horse too.
Ideally you hardly ever use them, they are a refinement tool only. If you cant get your horse moving off your leg or cant keep your leg stable and co ordinate heel and toes out etc you shouldnt use them I guess.


09-02-07, 02:31 AM

The set of English rowels I use, have a flat disc that is 1 inch (2.5cm)diameter. They are noticeable and they are allowed in competition. My daughter competes in Stubben rowel these have points and these are small. In dressage the rules are (as quoted from the rule book).Can be worn at all levels.Compulsory with a Double bridle.
Must be made of metal. Must have a shank either curved or straight directly back from the centre of the spur. The tip of the shank must not point up. The arms must be smooth. If rowels are used they must be free to rotate. There is no maximum length (In Eventing there is).Spurs with hard plastic knobs are allowed. Dummy spurs with no shank are allowed.
If you have any questions regarding rules for your sport, go to the source. The rules can be downloaded from the EFA site I have learnt over the years the majority of people competing simply do not know the rules or have never read or owned a rule book. Bear in mind that when it comes to a dispute at any level ignorance is not a defence.
Hope this helps. Good luck.

09-02-07, 03:15 AM
Hi OakeyPoke
Yes, the little rowell dressage spurs are acceptable.
If you go the EA website http://www.efanational.com/default.asp?MenuID=Rules_and_Regs/11759/0,Dressage/11745/668 it will tell you all you need to know regarding what is acceptable gear wise etc.
Hope this helps.
AC :-)

09-02-07, 04:31 AM
In 2 star eventing spurs are compulsory, as far as being cruel what a crock, do you think a bit is cruel also!!!!

09-02-07, 05:43 AM
Thanks guys, I already have to worry about AQHA, AAA and HSAA rules, I was kinda hoping someone in the know could just tell me :-)

All your info and help has been much appreciated. Thanks muchly.

09-02-07, 07:19 AM
I know exactly what you mean .. there is a lot to remember, thats for sure!
Suppose the only reason I kept up to date with the EFA rules for dressage was so that I wouldn't be disqualified from a test for having the incorrect gear on my horse, and if you are going to go and start doing some tests with an EFA affiliated club, you will (or should be) gear checked before every test and if the wrong gear is detected, you can be DQ'd :-(

But like i mentioned, yes, rowelled(sp?) spurs are acceptable.

09-02-07, 09:47 AM

Im with you Jasmine Im not a fan of spurs or whips (I don't use them) but when used in the right way people can make them work. I just hate seeing a whip or spurs on horses who genrally don't need them.


09-02-07, 02:22 PM
Yes, I understand everything now.. sorry :(
*slaps self*