Linda Hauck of Ontario has had a deep passion for Eventing and Thoroughbreds throughout a stellar equestrian profession, which included an Advanced level competition career in the 1990s. Today she works as both a Level 2 equine coach and technical delegate in Canada, and has a career re-training ex-racehorse Thoroughbreds in their second careers.
Throughout her rewarding life with horses however, there has always been one issue that has nagged her.
Traditional spurs, thought to be such wonderful aids for teaching, often proved aggravating to horses, who might kick, pin their ears, and otherwise overreact to a poke in the ribs.
Perturbed by the lack of a smoother, rounder alternative to the traditional spur, Hauck rolled up her sleeve and invented one.
Thus, the Spursuader was born!
In this week’s Reader’s Clubhouse Q&A, Hauck discusses the flat, round spur she has developed as a gentle riding aid.
Q: Linda, what is a Spursuader?
The Spursuader is an innovative and internationally patented spur. With its larger contact surface and rounded edges the Spursuader is ideal for sensitive and young horses and riders seeking a kinder but effective alternative to traditional sharp-edged spurs. It comes in an English and Western version.
Q: How did you think of the idea, develop it and when did you bring it to market?
I had the idea for Spursuader in my head for years. I re-train thoroughbreds off the racetrack for new careers and I was frustrated with the spurs that were available. They were too harsh for most if these sensitive types of horses. I had a prototype made which I tried on all the horses I was training and the riders I was coaching. The results were fantastic!
The lateral work was fantastic with happier horses! My adult amateurs were very comfortable using the Spursuader to get the “move over” without the anxiousness that can accompany traditional spur use.
I launched the Spursuader in the fall of 2009 at the KOP tradeshow in Philadelphia. To date we have sold 3,000 worldwide.
Q: Why do you believe a Spursuader makes more sense than a regular spur? And, is there a particular type of a horse that does better with this product?
When you poke yourself with a traditional spur you immediately feel the harshness of the spur.
Most horses hate that feeling in their ribcages and react accordingly – ears back, tail swishing, teeth grinding, kicking out to the leg.
The contact surface of the Spursuader is much larger and feels like a “push” on the horse’s side. It isn’t nearly so offensive, and consequently, the horse does not react so negatively and defensively. Horses that respond to the lower leg do very well with the Spursuader.
Q: How have clients and customers been reacting to your product? And, where can a prospective buyer find it?
Some customers will see me at a trade show and immediately “get” the concept of the Spursuader. Others need to be “poked” and hear the story and then understand the concept.
I have been so pleased with the reaction to the Spursuader in both the English and Western Markets. I say to people at tradeshows that this product is being used by English and Western riders, and has been spotted at Badminton, in the Grand Prix dressage AND show jumping rings. It has also been used by an Extreme Cowboy winner and on a finalist for America’s Top Trail Horse!
Prospective buyers can visit the website www.spursuader.com and check the Store Locator page for a tack store nearest them. They can also buy online.
5 responses to “Clubhouse Q&A: From spurs to Spursuader”
The USEF 2012 Rule for spurs in eventing states –
SPURS. Spurs may be worn at any time. Spurs are required in the dressage test at the Intermediate and Advanced levels. Spurs capable of wounding a horse are forbidden. Spurs must be of smooth metal. If there is a shank it must not be longer than 3.5 cm (1 3/8 inches) and must point only towards the rear.
The Spursuader clearly points only toward the rear and therefore should be allowed. They are allowed at eventing competitions across Canada.
I hope this helps.
I bought these spurs a month ago at Equine Affaire, and I *love* them. I was initially skeptical, but I figured that at worst they would be about the same in effect as my existing spurs. I won’t lie and say they’ve been a miracle, but now that I’ve had them for a few weeks, I truly believe my horse is responding slightly better to them than he did to traditional spurs. He’s never been a horse who’s touchy about spurs, but it’s like he’s gotten used to the idea that the spur won’t goose him accidentally and that encourages him to respond to more subtle aids from the spur. It’s also led to more consistent leg position from me–I am not so paranoid about goosing anymore, so I’m not afraid to keep my leg/ankle/calf where they belong.
For those who haven’t seen these spurs in person, they are really good quality. I don’t have mine handy but I’m pretty sure they’re mad by Shires, a British brand that makes great stuff. The Spursuasion spurs are nice thick metal that should last a long time.
Anyone had success getting a TD to approve these at a USEA horse trial?
I use these spurs and I love them. This is a great product- I love it and I am sure my horse appreciates them too. My horse gets upset and bucks with regular spurs, but not with spursuaders. He responds nicely to them and they give me just enough of that extra little reinforcement I need to get him going.
I LOVE the concept of this product. I’ve seen it for a year or two in Bit of Britain and know that when I do need spurs, I’ll be getting these. I’ve never liked spurs and always used the stubbiest, shortest ones possible, but these are brilliant. So glad Linda thought of a product that improves an ancient piece of equipment!
(For what it’s worth, when we saw War Horse on Broadway, the entire British cavalry wore their 1”+ spurs upside down. Thus when they would squat down, they would poke themselves in the rear. I had to restrain myself from snorting and guffawing from the audience…! Perhaps they need the Spursuader to prevent injury?)
I giggled when I read about the upside-down spurs worn by the cast of War Horse. Maybe it kept them lively for their roles. LOL
I hope you’re feeling great, meantime, as you head toward the wire. Then your blog will focus on getting junior to ride horses!