At the start, I think these spurs were perfect for me. They are impossible to apply inadvertently, and therefore were friendly additions for my loose and unrefined leg. Pig was very sensitive to them (and still is!), and they worked for the purpose.
As time went on, I'd experimented with longer spurs, up to the 1" straight variety. Those were big no's from Guinness. He was over reactive and very tense from them, and I think I was banging him with them inadvertently. So, we stuck with our wee little nubs and called it good.
Then, while in Florida, I had this conversation with my trainer:
"You lift your leg up so much to put it on. Do you feel like you can't get your spur on without picking up your leg to help your heel make contact?"
"Huh. You might try swan neck spurs. They might help you keep your leg down."
So, when I got back from Florida, that's what I did. I snapped up this pair of spurs from VTO Saddlery (the cheapest pair I could find...), and started reading up about their use.
|My VTO shipment also included another pair of Royal Highness breeches from the clearance section. These are my favorite breeches ever.|
The swan neck spur is most often seen at the Spanish Riding School, where the rider's legs are much longer than their little stallion's barrels. The spurs are devised so the riders can apply the spur without shortening their leg. In my reading, I also found that riders with exceptionally long legs, or more wasp waisted horses, also found the spur to be helpful.
Pig isn't especially wasp waisted, nor are my legs abnormally long. However, combined together our conformation can make applying my leg difficult.
When the spurs arrived, I compared them to my normal spurs with some eye opening horror...
|Both spurs shown upside down here, but let's just take a look at that length discrepancy!|
|Where the spur sits. My toe is turned out here, so they look much closer than they really are.|
Overall, I'm pleased with this change. Pig has been funky in his canter departs, and this is helping to solve our problem. Namely, he's slow and behind the leg in the transition, and I tend to pick up my inside leg to jam my heel on when he bulges into my inside leg as an evasion. Now I can hold my position strongly upright, keep my inside leg long and deep, and use my spur without moving my leg to keep him from leaning on me during the depart.
Cheers to the swan neck spur, and to longer and more secure legs everywhere!