SPURS have been an aide to the equestrian for thousands of years.
Early spurs, believed to have been used by the Roman Legions of Julius Caesar, have been unearthed in England. The Romans developed spurs in order to have a way to steer their horses with their legs, while leaving their hands free to fight.
The Etymology of Spur
The very old word derives from Anglo-Saxon spura, spora, related to spornan, spurnan, to kick, spurn; cf. Medieval High German Sporn, modern German Sporn, Dutch spoor, Frisian spoar. The generalized sense of Spurs is “anything that urges on, stimulus” is recorded in English from circa 1390.
Early spurs had a neck that ended in a point, called a prick, riveted to the heel band. Prick spurs had straight necks in the 11th century and bent ones in the 12th. The earliest form of the horseman’s spur armed the heel with a single prick. In England, the rowel spur is shown upon the first seal of Henry III and on monuments of the 13th century, but it does not come into general use until the 14th century. The earliest rowels probably did not revolve but were fixed.
Spur designs in Spain and colonial Mexico were particularly elaborate. For example, the spurs of the Spanish Conquistadors were sometimes called Espuela Grande, the “Grand Spur,” and could have rowels as large as six inches around.
In today’s Horse World there are two distinct styles of spurs. Those used in the English-Dressage discipline of riding and those found in the Western riding discipline. Western Spurs have evolved along the Spanish and Mexican Vaquero style. The use of Silver and overlays. with large movable Rowels. are popular. A pair of Silver Spurs is a prized possession.
In today’s Western Tack Market there are affordable and functional “ornate” spurs, manufactured to effect many disciplines. The pictured Spur to the left is an “antique style” designed for the Lady Barrel Racer. This 1″ Concave Band With Barrel Motif And Trims 1-3/8″ Shank W/ 16 Points 7/8″ Rowels Oval Cup Concave Shaped Band allows a better fitting and helps Holding the Spurs In Position, close to the Boot’s Heel, even during the fastest runs.
A similar style but a bit more “pronounced effect is the Black Satin Reining Spurs from Buckaroo Leather Products. It has a 1″ Band With Sliding Reiner Motif And Silver Trim , 2-1/8″ Curved Shank, 10 Point Blunted Rowel. (Strong Effect) The length of the shank of a spur is chosen also on the normal position of the rider’s saddle seat and the position of their leg when mounted.
The object of the spur is to “remind” the Horse, gently prod them , if needed.
The spur is a refined tool, designed to allow the rider to transmit very subtle signals to the horse that are nearly invisible to any other observer. No matter the discipline, it is important that a rider has a correct position before using spurs, with a deep seat, legs lengthened to the extent allowed by the stirrups, heels down, with knees and thighs rolled in so that the rider has a solid base of support. A swinging or unstable leg may inadvertently jab the horse with the spur as the rider sits, thus irritating, distracting, or frightening the animal, and chronic misuse may deaden the horse to the leg aids.
We thank Wikipedia for the above quote.
Another word of caution should you chose to use Spurs in your Riding endeavors. They are an AIDE and should be used on a horse that has BEEN LEG TRAINED. The subtle touch should be a reminder, NOT a strong Command, in pleasure riding. Of course Rodeo Riders will use spurs for a different reason, and even they need to KNOW HOW TO.
Stop By our Website and Visit the Hobbles Section for a complete array of spurs and don’t forget to look at the Spur Strap Section to finish out your Spur Ensemble