As with any training aid, I feel there is a time and a place for spurs and also a level of skill required for such a tool. I also feel quite strongly against using spurs on a horse that needs those ridiculous pads to keep them from rubbing or bleeding. If a horse needs those, then surely they can feel your heel on their side, since they're so sensitive and all.
|Also, you look ridiculous|
Taking that with a grain of salt, I know FEI dressage tests require them and spurs are usually used for refinement and not abusive tactics.
Too often though I've seen spurs put on inexperienced riders with lazy horses which only results in jabbing them over and over due to a weak position. OR on asshats who stab the fuck out of their horses because they apparently cannot train horses to respond normally to aids. Not exactly the smartest decision, but hey, to each their own, I'm not the #tackpolice
I will judge you quietly though.
Just like whips, godforsaken draw reins, nosebands and bits, spurs are a tool and must be treated with that kind of respect. A Dressage TODAY article stated it quite well; using the four R's
Response: Usually the ﬁrst reason why you may want to use spurs is to achieve a better reaction to your leg. Even with the most competent rider, a horse may become dull to the leg. It is important to remember that most horses by nature take the path of least resistance to some degree. A spur used for response helps the horse notice that the leg has been applied and that you are expecting a reaction.
Reinforce: Spurs can be useful in reinforcing a speciﬁc aid. In the case of a dull horse, after applying the leg and getting an insufficient forward reaction, the spur could be used to reinforce that the leg means to move more forward.
Reward: In the case of sensitive or more advanced horses who do not like to be ridden with a significant amount of leg pressure, the spur can be used to thank the horse for being so responsive. These types of horses often appreciate the clarity of an aid that a properly applied spur can provide.
|The only spur I'll use|
|Sans spurs flatwork circa 2014/I wish I was this skinny still|
"If your seat is stable only because you are gripping with your lower legs and hanging on the reins, you are not ready for spurs"
|Applying said spur to said lazy beast|
|Whoop there is it, the frame we've been looking for|
"the spur should be used to turn up the volume of the leg aid. For example, encouraging the horse to move more forward toward the bit or getting him to step more deeply sideways in a leg yield"
|I spy roller spurs|