Taking off spurs to increase leg aid sensitivity.


Well-Known Member
30 June 2005
Greenwich, London.
Caspers schooling has been going really well, he's learning to sit more and is not having to try leaning on my hand for balance however, I was finding that when things got a little tough for him and I applied more leg, he was curling back at me rather than going forward. The more leg I applied, the more he just felt like he would grind to a halt.

I took off my spurs and hey presto, different horse. It's taken only a few sessions of asking gently just once and backing up with a tap or just a good thud with my leg and the result is a much more forward horse.

He was ridden by a man before I had him and just didn't respond to my leg aids very well at all. I'd put the spurs on simply because he'd always been ridden in them.

This is all very well on the flat, it has definitely worked but when we are jumping, I am finding that he approches the jump well, but again slows down and doesn't really put in a lot of effort to get over it. YO (previous owner) said I have to keep leg on (yep got that) and apply more pressure/kick to take off. I am of the thinking that if I get him to the fence with impulsion, he should jump it when he gets there with no extra kick to take off. I am not the best jumper in the world I freely admit but what do you think?

Thing is, YO is a showjumper and places all his horses to perfection, can see strides from 3 miles away and will stop them if everything is not totally correct and re present. I'm a bit more, get a good canter and jump from that. Most of the time I see a stride but then when I don't I am rubbish and freeze. My previous horses jumped well for me and somehow we always got to the fence just about right so had no issues.

With Casper, I think he is missing the absloute instruction to jump. I don't want to put the spurs back on, do you have any suggestions for exercises which will help him to look out for himself a little more and not rely on being told what to do, where to take off etc and to put in a bit more effort.

Sorry, that was a longer post than intended.