View Full Version : Spurs or not?
4th May 2000, 08:47 PM
Hi.I'm a member of Riding for the Disabled and have my first Dressage test in the form of the Regional Competition, next Tuesday 9th May.I'm petrified.My left leg and foot can move independently and quite accurately, if I'm not too tired, and Dan, my 17 year old gelding seems to understand what I want and responds accordingly.However, the right leg does its own thing I'm afraid, and when I want to ask him to move out (Leg yield) he either goes faster or does nothing.He's generally a very responsive, very patient ex-RDA horse, who is used to all kinds of strange leg aids, and I'm not really worried about him doing anything silly with me, and I don't thinks there's much danger of his becoming frightened by what I do.But I don't want to seem to punish him, just because I can't make my legs do what I want them to do.Basically, my leg seems to brush past his side when I try to touch him, as far as I can gather, it's not even touching him, let alone nudging him, and though I've tried and tried, I just can't persuade my leg to do anything different!! I'm allowed to wear spurs though its not compulsory.The ones I've tried are very blunt ended, and face downwards (I'm sure there must be a better name for them that that!),Dan doesn't seem to mind them and he seems to respond better to my right leg.Does anyone have any views as to whether or not its mean of me to wear them,I really don't want to spoil Dan in any way, he's such a fantastic horse for me.Any views appreciated,or alternative ideas of course,....kinda before next Tuesday?? :confused:
4th May 2000, 10:04 PM
I think if your leg does not work properly and the spurs compensate for that then you are right in using them. They are not cruel used correctly and in fact beyond medium level (I think)they are compulsory.
Their basic purpose is to refine aids not to inflict pain - unfortunately people often use them if they horse is not responding to basic leg aids, a short cut to improving their riding and training the horse. In your case they are necessary, you are not using them as a short cut to cover up lack of training in the horse, they are, from what you say, a necessity to achieving correct performance.
Incidetally when people used to ride side saddle they used to replace the leg which was not on the horses side with a whip, not cruel, just used as a leg aid. Go ahead wear the spurs and good luck for the test.
5th May 2000, 12:58 PM
I'd ask your trainer for his/her view on whether you have sufficient control on your right side to wear spurs. You don't need perfect control - just to be sure you're not confusing or hurting the horse unnecessarily.
I have trouble keeping my lower legs still. Years ago my instructor of the time, who was very conscious of horse welfare issues, thought I was safe enough to let ride her old showjumper out in spurs. He was one of those horses that you couldn't carry a whip on - he just went bananas and bolted !- and so you needed spurs.
Good luck with the competition.
7th May 2000, 11:53 PM
Spurs are not cruel and can not spoil a horse when used properly. However, you may have to get your horse used to the spurs. I reccomend you use the spurs.
18th May 2000, 02:11 PM
Just thought I'd let you know that people still ride side-saddle. I have just competed in a show this weekend.
It is compulsory to wear a spur or spur band on your left leg when competing and we should be using a cane, slightly longer than a show cane as a 'wooden leg' to move the horse over when required. Although, these days a lot of ladies use a dressage whip for the same purpose.
Side-saddle riding is becoming very popular again and the only drawback at the moment is getting hold of a saddle.
You made it sound as though side-saddle riding no longer existed so I thought I'd let you know that we are still keeping it going.
Gwenllian, what about having a go at side-saddle it sounds as though it would be perfect for you as the saddles are usually made for your legs to be on the nearside. Therefore you would be better to have some use of your left leg but your right leg is just wrapped around the top pummel. We have many side-saddle riders who are members of RDA and I have just been beaten by two RDA members at my Area Side-Saddle Show. You can also enter dressage shows side-saddle. Have a look at the Side Saddle Association web site www.equiworld.com/ssa (http://www.equiworld.com/ssa)
[This message has been edited by Sidesaddle (edited 18 May 2000).]
[This message has been edited by Sidesaddle (edited 18 May 2000).]
25th May 2000, 08:38 PM
Sidesaddle, I love the idea, but isn't it REALLY scary??Don't you feel horrendously insecure?I'm going to make enquiries, I'd LOVE to have a go!!Tell me more!
26th May 2000, 10:54 AM
Whereabouts in Wales are you? I can send you the details of qualified side-saddle instructors.
Or you could go to a show the following are some shows in Wales which will have side-saddle classes;
10/6/00 Aberystwyth Show
1/7/00 Machen Agricultural Society, Caerphilly
8-9/7/00 Bridgend Agricultural Show
22/7/00 Barry Horse Show
15-16/8/00 The Anglesey County Show
28/8/00 Vale of Glamorgan Show
Many riders that feel insecure riding cross-saddle and have tried side-saddle find they have greater confidence in the side-saddle. You sit further back and the saddle has a larger surface area for sitting on. The rider should try to keep their weight along the right leg (which is positioned along the horses' spine). The right leg is hooked over the fixed head (or upper pommel) and the left leg is in a normal riding position (with a stirrup) but the leg is positioned below the leaping head (or lower pommel). If anything goes wrong the emergency grip is used, where you bring your left leg up into the leaping head and push your right thigh downwards, as though you are trying to keep your knees together. You cannot come off !
This is where jumping is much less scary as you have something to keep you with the saddle, unlike a cross-saddle.
The principles of balance are very similar to cross-saddle but obviously because of the different position of the body, your waist will be twisted, it is a completely difference experience.
A lot of people have asked me if it is uncomfortable, because of the twisting. I have never found a problem with my back because you also have to sit up straight with a good posture and because of this it does not cause any back problems.
It's a shame you are not closer to me as I could let you have a try, I'm in Hampshire, and also I live a few minutes from Mrs Skelton, president of the Side Saddle Association, who would also encourage you to have a go.
Let me know where you are and we can sort you out !
26th May 2000, 06:49 PM
I used to ride side-saddle, It's not scary at all, in fact I felt safer side-saddle than I do astride. I used to ride our Andalusian X stallion this way. He could be a bit of a so and so but I never fell off him while side-saddle. I did frequently while astride!!
I would like to start again. I'm not sure a side saddle would be a brilliant fit for and Icelandic. What I do know is that it would be the most comfortable thing in the world to ride Tölt side-saddle.
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