How would you like a sharp poke in the ribs?
Well, neither does your horse.
Equestrian Canada level 2 coach, horse racer, and eventing competitor Linda Hauck followed that train of logic and has developed and patented a new kind of spur – one that the rider and the horse will likely find very appealing.
“This one is telling,” she said, holding a traditional, long, pointed spur. “This one is asking,” she added, showing the spursuader.
Instead of coming to a point, the spursuader is rounded, and it is angled onto the boot hold with the horse’s ribs in mind, and it doesn’t cause any sharp movements from sensitive horses when the rider uses the spurs to ask the horse to move to one side or another, or forward or back.
Hauck said that is particularly appealing in events like dressage, where jittery movements are not what the rider wants. It can be used in dressage, eventing, and Canadian hunter jumper competitions, among others.
“I designed it to make the horse happy,” she said in an interview. “The sensitive ones, the thoroughbreds, the one’s with some go to them. It’s also for the riders.”
The level 2 coach has done eventing for years, and for ten more years she rode the thoroughbreds at racetracks like Woodbine and Fort Erie, and in the United States, as well as currently training and buying and selling horses in her 30 years in the industry. Since she buys and sells mostly thoroughbreds, as well as coach and train, the spursuader comes in very handy.
She said when she teaches, the spursuader particularly gives students the confidence to kick it into the horse without getting a major reaction, and yet it gets the movement the rider desires.
“It gives them the confidence – and it’s effective,” she said with a smile. “There’s nothing like it on the market.”
She added that when people see it, their reaction is, “It’s a no brainer.”
Now, her invention is making inroads all over North America and in Europe.
“It had been in my mind for years,” she said. “The thoroughbreds hated the points [on traditional spurs]. I told myself, if I didn’t do it, somebody else will.”
She said she simply asked herself, “What can I do that will make both of us happier?”
Hauck said she had noticed over five years ago that the traditional spur was not working well with “these sensitive breeds. Some people don’t necessarily want more speed from a horse, they just want it to move over. People tell me there is no overreaction.”
Hauck knows her spurs. She said the first American patent on them came in 1860, and that Europe could have different patents.
So, 18 months ago, she had a prototype made, and had all the people she was riding with and those she was training try them out. They liked it.
Hauck applied for a patent in the Untied States first, because it is a bigger market. She filed her invention on May 28 last year, and received the patent on April 13 this year.
“It went really well,” she said, noting that the patent is also good across North America and Europe, too. It is good for 14 years. She said the shape she uses is unique and her lawyer told her the spursuader will be very difficult to duplicate or copy.
Old style spurs can run anywhere from $15 to $150, but she sells the spursuader in the mid price range at $54.99.
She said of the patent experience, and getting her spursader recognized for various events, “I did jump all the hoops.”
Hauck said at first, the Federation Equestrian International felt international calibre riders should know what they are doing when it comes to spurring a horse, but now it is used by riders in its events, too.
She attended a huge trade show in Britain in February, and Hauck added she has talked to a number of top notch riders about the spursuader, and they like it, too.
She said that three-time Olympian Peter Gray, now the Canadian three day event team coach used to refuse to use any spurs at all, but he will now use the spursuader.
The prototype spursuader was made in Elmira, as was the packaging. Unfortunately, she she said, there were problems with the tumbling process, and she was losing about half the production to breakage. She is now marketing the spursuader through Shires Equestrian Products, which does business in Europe and North America, and the spursuader is now made in the Shire’s factory in China.
“It wasn’t something that I wanted to do,” Hauck admitted. “I’m very much made-in-Canada.”
Hauck could not be more pleased with her invention. She said that “everything just fell into place.”
Her partner, a firefighter, came up with the name, and a company in Elmira helped with the packaging.
“The only thing I came up with was the design.”