Wednesday December 11, 2019
Wearing Spurs

spursLike many aspects of life, the equestrian world is no stranger to fads, and one of the current trends suggests that a rider’s wardrobe is not complete without a pair of spurs!  The Committee thought it would be a good idea to explain the Pony Club’s stance on the use of spurs by its members.

We expect our instructors to discourage the use of spurs during training but give them absolute discretion in permitting members to use spurs during rallies if they feel it is appropriate, so you only need a spur permission card if you need to wear spurs when competing at Pony Club competitions.

If you need to wear spurs, regardless of whether you have had a spur permission card in previous years, please read the information below and contact the Discipline Managers in the first instance.

B Test holders do not need a spur permission card.

As a training organisation, one of the Pony Club’s stated roles is to provide instruction in riding and horsemanship. During their training and instruction within the Pony Club, members will be taught the use of the aids:

The  Natural Aids include the legs, the influence of the body and seat – the weight aids, and the voice.
The Artificial Aids include the correct use of the whip and spurs.

In her book, one of the UK’s most respected Dressage judges and former GB team selector describes the need for spurs very succinctly: “Spurs are a means of adding more precision to the leg aids, especially with the more advanced horse……….but only if the rider has sufficient control over his legs that he uses them when intended.”

So quite clearly, spurs are an artificial aid that should ONLY be used by competent, experienced riders, on experienced horses or ponies who both understand and use the natural aids correctly, and who are now training or competing at more advanced levels where more precision  is required.

The Pony Club recognizes this need to allow the more experienced members to use spurs to continue to progress their training and competitive careers. A set of guidelines has been developed to help DC’s and instructors decide when a member may be both competent to use spurs correctly and competing or training at a level which may require the precision of the use of spurs:

  • The recommended minimum age is 14
  • The recommended minimum standard of riding is at C to C+ test level.
  • The member should have a secure lower leg and independent seat and hands
  • The member should have a thorough understanding of the use of the leg aids.
  • The member should be competing or training to compete at:
  • – Pony Club Intermediate Level
  • – BS where the first round is 1.05m
  • – Eventing at BE 100 and above
  • – Dressage in BYRDS B squad or BD Novice and above
  • Other disciplines are assessed individually
  • The member should be well known to the DC, and have demonstrated respect for and empathy with their horse and be considered unlikely to abuse the horse through ill-temper .
  • Members holding the full B test are considered competent in all the above areas and do not require the DC’s permission to wear spurs.

If a member wishes to request permission to use spurs, they must first discuss it with the appropriate Discipline Manager, and indicate a Pony Club instructor who has seen the member ride recently. The Discipline Manager will notify the DCs of the request and a spur card will be issued.  Requests for permission to wear spurs via any other route are unlikely to be considered. Once agreed, the spur card will be signed for the remainder of the Pony Club year, but can be rescinded at any time by the DC if the member is found to have abused the permission.

We don’t wish to be negative about the wearing of spurs, but we want to be sure that all those members who do wear spurs have demonstrated that they have a truly secure lower leg, fully understand the leg aids, and have clearly shown that their level of riding and competition will benefit from the use of spurs.