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Re: whips and spurs

> a horse to be responsive to your cues I also believe
> that any horse talented and proven enough to compete
> at International levels should absolutely be well
> trained enough to compete without them.

I once asked a very well-known international dressage trainer why she rode
her horses with spurs when they were obviously trained to the nth degree and
when she had a ballet dancer's control of her legs.  She told me that she
starts out youngsters with spurs only to teach them that obeying the leg cue
is a command, not a request.  Later on, she said they don't need it as a
reinforcement but as their education becomes more and more refined, the
"push buttons" on their side also get smaller and smaller, so that she needs
the spurs to cue the horse without appearing to move her leg at all.  She
said the "buttons" for a lead change were only an inch or two ahead of the
button for a haunches in or a piroette and no way can you be that accurate
using an entire leg or even heel.  Truly, ballet control and refinement.

While most people do not have this level of elegance and refinement in their
riding, I'm sorry that those who do have lost this as an option.  Those who
wish to abuse their horse will always find a way to do so regardless of

susan g

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