My spurs came in yesterday.  But not the new bellboots (trying Davis since the Archer ate the Centaurs) or the actual Smartpaks.  Weird.

I had to text L. Williams to see how the damn things went.

When I got to the barn, I spent a few minutes talking to BM's kid about the show they were at.  She's an amazing rider and she did really, really well at the show.  I joked with BM about the inevitable trophy room (I think she brought home four from this show alone).

Okay, so it might be time for new half-chaps.
While I was tacking up Archie and talking to BM, we both noticed at almost the exact same time that he was holding one eye partially shut.  It wasn't swollen and had no debris, so I'm not sure what was going on.  She advised putting a fly mask on him, so I did that before I left for the night.  I also cold hosed it after I rode.  He resumed normal eye function while we rode, but I wanted to be precautious.

Mah eyeball.
I made a joke that if I went flying, someone should try to catch me.  Because I figure that it's the first time Archie has probably felt spurs.  I've certainly never ridden him in them before (and we've always had an issue with "go", so maybe I'm an idiot), then he spent the two years out to pasture before I started working him.  And I highly doubt that the 4-H kids rode in spurs.  But I never did 4-H, so I have no idea, really.

BM gave me a very valuable tip:  roll the ankle.  I wasn't exactly planning on just jabbing him with the spurs, but it reinforced that I needed to offer the inside of my heel first and then poke him if he didn't respond.

We meandered at a walk for a few minutes and then I asked him for trot.  He ignored my squeezes and my clucks.  So I rolled my ankles.

I felt him feel the spur.  I don't know how to describe it otherwise.  His neck arched and he brought his body away from the pressure and he shot forward.  Of course, that shooting forward was short lived and I had to continue to push him.  I rolled my ankle a few more times during the ride, but he only had an active response one other time.

First one in the ring after a massive storm.
I asked for the right lead canter, but I didn't want to run him into it.  I kept contact, squeezed, nudged and finally poked him.  When I touched him with the outside spur, he immediately picked up the right lead.  Maybe a lack of pressure from me has been our problem.  Maybe my request hasn't been clear enough.

Itty bitty poker.
After all that, I took him on a little trail ride.  Hosed him down, hosed his eye, put on his fly mask, fly boots and fly spray, fed him his dinner and turned him out.  I was the last one at the barn and night was falling.  I truly felt in my element.


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  1. 4-H kids could've used spurs. I know a few that do.

    1. Maybe I think spurs are a bigger deal than they actually are. I've been riding twenty years and I still asked a professional before I wore a pair. Aren't 4-H kids... kids? I don't hang around kids to really know, but are they generally that good? The only one I do know (and she wears spurs) is the BM's kid and she's phenomenal. I thought that was more the exception than the rule.

  2. Sounds like the spurs really got the point across for him! Hooray!

  3. Actually I think now that maybe the longer branch goes on the outside of the foot but I also don't think it matters unless your spurs are significantly curved one way or the other :P

    1. Yeah, the only real curve was in the actual poker and I set it up to poke downwards. They weren't uncomfortable how I had them, so whatever works!

  4. Welcome to the world of spurs :)

  5. I don't know about 4H but I know kids that ride their fat lazy ponies with spurs (and know how to use them correctly. Ponies will teach stuff like that...lol) I knew how to use spurs by the time I was 14. Some people treat spurs like they're a big deal. I personally prefer spurs to a crop. One less thing to carry in your hand, and all you have to do is point your toes in and crank your heels down to keep them off the horse. Like all training aids, when used correctly they are a big help, and you can eventually wean Archie off of them. Glad he's listening! :)