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I first heard about Spursuaders when Steuart Pittman mentioned them in a clinic I was riding in a few years back. He regularly uses them on off-track Thoroughbreds and recommends them for any sensitive horse or someone who wants a less severe yet equally effective spur. My trainer, Holly Sands, has also used them with great results on her Thoroughbreds.
The large, round end of the spur is tilted 4 degrees in to give a more gentle effect. Photo by Jenni Autry.
So when Linda Hauck, creator of Spursuaders, asked us to try them out, I jumped at the chance. Mia is your typical sensitive Thoroughbred mare, so I thought she’d be a perfect test case for the product. Since Mia, with her sassy attitude, only wants to work just as hard as she thinks she needs to, spurs are a necessity for me, especially when it comes to lateral work.
I switched out my typical roller ball spurs for Spursuaders, and wow — what a difference! While these will not magically give your own sassy OTTB mare a good work ethic, they will make the negotiation process much easier and pleasant for all parties involved. I can now “talk to her” while avoiding an angry tail swish or pinned ears — SO much better.
So how do Spursuaders work, and why are they a good option for sensitive horses like Mia? The spurs are 4.5 inches long from end to end, with the patented circular end curving inward at a slight 4-degree tilt. Linda, a Canadian eventing technical delegate with more than 35 years of experience in the horse industry, said the spur is designed that way to make the horse happier.
“There’s not a lot of muscle and skin over the ribs along the spur line,” Linda said. “Even a Prince of Wales spur can feel really sharp. I put one on my own rib cage, and I thought, ‘Oh my God; that is offensive.’”
Linda got to work designing a spur with a contact surface big enough to apply pressure but smooth enough so that it wouldn’t poke and jab the horse in an uncomfortable way. She went to her neighbor and asked him to “put a Canadian loonie on the back of a traditional spur” in his workshop, and thus the first Spursuader prototype was born. Linda talks much more about the design process in this video:
Since the product officially launched in 2009, riders from all English disciplines — and there’s even a Western Spursuader now — have tried the product and loved it, with big names like show jumping legend and EquestrianCoach.com founder Bernie Traurig using them and recommending them.
“I have used the Spursuader spurs in my clinics for the last three years which gave me the opportunity to try them on many different horses with different sensitivity levels,” Traurig says. “I have been extremely happy with the results and continue to always have them on hand in my backpack!”
Spursuaders are legal at FEI level and national level for Hunter/Jumper competition.
Spursuaders are available for $54.99 at this link. For more information on Spursuaders, click here to visit the website, and you can also like their Facebook here. And while you’re at it, check out Linda’s other products, the Tapestry Neck Strap — love the idea of elastic inserts in a neck strap! — and the brand new Tapestry Comfort Girth.
Go Spursuaders. Go Shopping!