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Not long after I started riding, I decided that I needed a pair of spurs. So I got a sharp looking pair with silver accents and a set of really cool looking hair-on cowhide buckaroo style spur straps.

It wasn’t long before a friend pulled me aside and suggested I stop wearing spurs. It seems I was jabbing Cowboy in the side every time he took a stride.

Now, instead of heeding this well placed advice, I simply got another pair of spurs that were a little shorter and had fewer points on the rowels. I was determined to quit jabbing Cowboy but my ego still had to be satisfied.

Fortunately, I have a daughter who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is! She made it clear that I was embarrassing her by trying to ride with spurs and I was still jabbing Cowboy at every stride!

Now I’m obviously not the smartest guy around because my reaction was… you guessed it… get a pair of bumper spurs! I had to be able to wear these, eh?

Right about this time, a friend of mine decided that I was not doing Cowboy any favors with my riding. Now this friend is an old cow-hand and knows more than a little about riding horses. She began by informing me that I would have to “earn my spurs!”

So off we go, Cowboy and I on our “journey of learning.” Around this time we attended our first Sharon Camarillo clinic and she helped us make huge strides. We also started to get better times and to have a lot more fun riding. So imagine my excitement when said trainer informed me that she had gotten me a new pair of spurs! Boy did my ego inflate! Oh, by the way, she was very clear that these were blunt spurs, but that was OK, my ego wasn’t gonna let that get in the way!

Now imagine my shock when I was handed a pair of equitation spurs with THREE INCH LONG SHANKS! Don’t worry, they were blunt! Ego aside, I stuttered a ‘thank you’ and asked, “Just what are you thinking here?” (My words were calm and polite; my thoughts were a whole different matter.) Even my ego wasn’t ready to walk around with THREE INCH LONG SHANKS on my spurs (blunt or not)! Not missing a beat, I was informed that these spurs would force me to keep my heels down when I rode. For if I didn’t keep my heels down, I would poke Cowboy and he would buck me off!

I have to say, it's not often that I am rendered speechless… this was one of those times.

So I start riding with my THREE INCH LONG SHANK spurs. Knowing the consequences, I was constantly thinking about keeping my heels down. Thinking led to action and my heels stayed down and my riding continued to improve and Cowboy was happy. Then, once again, my ego reared its head! I reasoned that if I could ride in THREE INCH LONG SHANK spurs at home, then I certainly was ready for “real” spurs in completion. So I get another pair of fancy show spurs with a real rowel! (I rationalized the rowel by getting a shank that was a quarter of an inch shorter… like this was gonna make a difference?)

Thankfully for Cowboy’s sake, Sharon happened along and very gently and with great class and style “suggested” that I lose the spurs, or at least wear ones with much shorter shanks! Sharon must have included a bit of “smarts” along with her advice because I immediately lost the spurs!

So where is this all going? Recently I asked a trainer, whom I respect, if I should start riding with spurs again. She settled the matter very simply. “Heavens NO” she said, “you ride so much better without them!”

How could I argue with that logic?

Ride with the “smart” side of your brain… not with the “ego” side.