The Purpose of Spurs Why They Are Not Usually Used on Icelandic Horses
The spur is a metal instrument, used on the rear of a rider's boot. The purpose of a spur is
to give clearer signals for cues or aids, to the horse.
Aids are physiological responses to stimulus. Aids do not involve memory.
Cues are a signal for a specific learned behavior. It involves memory.
The physiological result of stimulating the rib area of the horse is the tighting of the abdominal muscles
and lifting of the back of the horse.
Use of spurs on Icelandic Horses / Ponies is counter productive to asking for the
tolt / rack as the gait is one that requires some ventroflexion or hollowing of the back.
This is opposite of the result when a spur is used.
In olden days, a young rider would have to "win his spurs" or earn the right to use spurs.
The US Cavalry has a spur-training program. It is tradition for the new troopers to prove their ability to perform with their horse. If they passed, they were they awarded spurs.
They could also have their spurs taken away for misuse!