I WENT to try a horse for sale for one of my clients the other day. The owner of the horse was very surprised when I came without any spurs on my boots – “as it was a high class dressage horse I was trying, and it can’t be ridden without the spurs”.
That’s fucked up to me. If the horse doesn’t function without the spurs IT’S NOT A HIGH CLASS HORSE.
The spur should be used only in advanced stage of training, (the fact that you use spurs doesn’t mean you’re riding on an advanced level), and it should only be used as required to reinforce the pushing aids. BUT the use of the spur is kind of the last resort and, as with other things in life, the last resort should be reserved for emergencies. The spur should touch the horses side with an increased pressure of the leg and the application should be discontinued as soon as the aid has obtained the required result. The spur should never be used sharply as an aid, because it would no longer be an aid but a punishment. So if a horse needs the spurs to listen to the leg aid, the hors is damaged, not advanced.