Luckily, last week when I made it to the tack shop again they had gotten new spurs in, including a short shanked smooth rowel spur. On Wednesday I showed them to Debbie, and this time she liked my new spurs. This was good, Mia had gotten irritated the one time I had tried the POW spurs, and I was sort of prepared for further irritation as my smooth rowel spurs are as long as my POW spurs, but Debbie was right. Everything worked well, Mia showed absolutely no irritation when I used my spurs and I got a more definite reaction than when I used my Waterford spurs. I was able to use my leg SOOOO much more lightly! And Debbie liked my lower leg a lot better than when I was using the bumper spurs.
On Friday Mia's increased responsiveness to my leg continued. I got her to extend the stride of her walk effortlessly, just lightly touching her side with the spur instead of my usual lower leg pressing against her side (in rhythm with her stride.) I had to use so much less effort to get her to walk out! Mia gave me no sour looks, she never moved her tail when I used the spur, and she cooperated with my requests for more impulse PROMPTLY. She had been used in a group lesson the weekend before and had become somewhat sore, so I mostly worked her at the walk. She appreciated my consideration for her soreness, and I appreciated her prompt reactions to my leg. Still, at the end of my half hour ride she was more than ready to call it a day.
That day Debbie's barn was an exciting place, a new boarder had come in with a Friesian mare, a very pretty horse. Debbie brought in Cricket and her foal Glory to meet the new mare as she will go into their paddock first before being thrown into the mare pasture (the one for boarders.) Luckily my son was handling Mia, taking her tack off and grooming her, because all of a sudden I heard this LOUD whicker--come to me baby, I'll be your mommy--as she started heading toward Glory. My son had no problems, he grew up around Arab mares and knows their ways, and he got Mia finished fast and dragged her away from the enticing baby. Mia STILL WANTS GLORY, she thinks Glory should be HER baby. Tough luck, Mia, Cricket is NOT going to give Glory to you.
Last night and this morning the bursitis in my hips flared up again for the first time in years. Going out to ride today I stepped into a sauna, there is so much humidity in the atmosphere it almost looked like it was raining. My right hip decided that everything was just too much, and I was limping around trying not to aggravate it. When I got to Shannon's place I showed her my new spurs and told her how Mia had reacted to them and asked permission to use them instead of my usual POW spurs, and I asked her that if she saw Cider showing ANY irritation to take them off of me, I would not feel insulted. Between my hip and the high humidity my legs were going all over the place when I walked, thank goodness for my canes, and I knew my legs might not be steady enough for spurs.
Cider reacted even better that Mia had. All of a sudden this sort of sour (she's the one who "told" me that my POWs were rude) resistant mare almost became putty in my hands. Except for the halt she did EVERYTHING I asked her to do promptly. No tail swishing, no irritated looks, just prompt and accurate responses everytime I touched her with the spur or gave her a rein aid (except for the halt.) She was obeying me better at both ends. When she would start rushing off at a trot (going downhill) she moderated her pace whenever I twitched my fingers. I got her to extend her stride at a walk, something she has never given to me before. She even straightened herself out better. I could use my legs so lightly that my hip bursitis started to get better from riding rather than worse. I will have to work on the halt more, and I will have to pay close attention to my legs to make sure I am not giving conflicting signals, but I am very encouraged by her responses.
So Monica, you were right, I love my smooth rowel spurs. Finally the mares are accepting a light touch of the spur as a valid signal. I guess the rowel feels more like a fly landing than the non-rowel spurs. This summer I will be able to use so much less energy getting the horses to move out faster than a crawl, and since it looks like we will have a long, hot, and muggy summer I am very grateful.
I LOVE my new spurs!
Have a great ride.