Sunday, February 24, 2013

Taking A Vacation From My Spurs

“If you jab that mare with your spur one more time I’m taking them off!” Those were Sarah’s words to me seconds before I lost the privilege of wearing my spurs yesterday. We were working on lope transitions and I found myself totally unable to ask for one without using my right spur. After I removed my spurs Sarah had me climb on her 4 year old gelding “Max” to get a better feel of what I was looking for. Max was started by Sarah; he is just lovely to watch and I found myself admiring his steady way of going at the horse show the weekend before. Max told on me every time I went to my hand without using my leg by lifting his head, he told on me every time I used too much hand or didn’t give to him when he gave to me, Max told on me every time I tensed and hollowed my back. Max is a tattletale! Max also told on me when I got it right by softly going to the bit and lifting his back. It didn’t take long before I was enjoying his rocking horse rhythmic lope with a smile on my face. I was then able to get back on Grace sans spurs and have a really beautiful ride. Looks like the spurs are back in my tack truck for an unforeseen amount of time while I get back in contact with my lower leg.

Sarah is out of town for the next several weekends so Grace and I will be working hard to have something to show her when she gets back. I’ve been riding with Sarah for years, but for the past year have been more consistent, rarely missing a week; it will be odd to go a few weeks without her. At the same time I am looking forward to working through some things on my own. I’ve found that the more my feel develops I ride more like a trainer at home; more proactive as opposed to reactive. I had a very affirming moment with the outside rein on Thursday that I look forward to exploring further. I was asking for a lope and decided to wait until I knew that I had Grace on the outside rein before giving the lope cue. Each time I did this I had a clean departure. There were times that I had to circle at the jog before getting a true connection on the outside rein going to the left, but the extra patience was well worth the quality that came from it.

On Sunday Grace and I hauled out to hit the trails with my good friend Jeanni. Grace was very well behaved and relaxed out on the trail. It was so nice to get to walk along and have a conversation with Jeanni and not have to micromanage every step. We ended the ride with the same statement we make each time “we need to do this more often!” Not bad for a weekend in February.  


  1. The opening line of this entry cracked me up. Justy FYI.

  2. I've reluctantly given up my spurs as well. We were getting a tell tale...uh...tail! I've also been trying to do exactly what you're describing with waiting until she is really right before asking for the lope departure. I think often I try to collect her and re-balance her but ready or not, here's a cue to lope! No wonder she likes to give me a cross face! I really like your feeling of being the trainer at home. Being more proactive is something I'd really like to work toward.

  3. Every winter during my training years, we would have a "slop season."
    The ground was muddy, the arena a deep leg grabbing hole, our roads and trails slippery mine fields.
    I would ride spurless,in my Mucks, for the entire season. Every horse from greenies to show horses went without spurs.
    It was a great time for them and me. I re-balanced my seat and remembered what my calves were for.
    I grew to love that phase.