Are Spurs One Size Fits All?

Applying spurs correctly requires skill and finesse, since improper usage can lead to painful injuries in horses as well as bewilder them into disregarding leg cues.

Finding the appropriate spurs depends on a rider’s needs, event and experience level. An appropriate pair will match up perfectly with a horse’s needs while providing clear communication between both parties involved.

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Spurs are small pieces of equipment worn on the back of a rider’s boot heels that allow direct communication from them to their horse. There are different shapes, sizes and types of materials used for spurs; all serve a specific purpose within equestrian sports. Spurs are typically made of metal, though leather or synthetic alternatives are possible. A spur has two main parts: heel band and rowels. The heel band fits around the back of a rider’s boots while its neck connects rowels to it via an attachment at their leg – with more widely spaced teeth creating rolling motion while having closer ones creating jabbing motions.

Unique spur designs combine elements from various traditional spur styles into one cohesive unit, such as having a rowel with cloverleaf-shaped and short shank rowels. This type of mild spur can be helpful for riders new to riding or horses who are sensitive to contact with the ground; other spurs feature rotating discs on their rowels, commonly found in dressage competition.

Selection of suitable spurs is an integral component of riding. Selecting an appropriate size and type can improve a horse’s response to leg cues from riders, yet can also be detrimental if used inappropriately. It is crucial that riders assess a horse’s temperament and ability before adding spurs, as well as consider if competition rules permit such use.


From ancient Celts and Greeks, through modern cowboy fame, spurs have long been used by riders as an essential way of communicating more directly with their horses. Riders wear them on their boot heel to apply gentle pressure against their horse’s side for more accurate leg aids to encourage movements or emphasise cues. Spurs come in many different shapes, sizes and styles that riders can wear them for.

Traditional metal spurs consist of three parts, including the band, neck or shank and rowels. The band fits around a rider’s boot while the neck connects the rowels; these form the business end of the spur and come in various sizes depending on what work the rider plans on doing with their horse.

Rowels play an essential role in how much pressure is applied and how the horse reacts to that pressure. Rowels can have more or less teeth spaced apart which affects how hard a jab is applied.

Riders should consider both their body type and discipline when selecting spurs for themselves or their horse. Riders with long legs may need spurs with longer shanks to reach the side more easily; riders seeking assistance should consult a professional to find suitable spurs; excessive or improper usage can result in pain or lasting injury for both horse and rider.


Spurs are small pieces of equipment used to apply direct and subtle pressure to a horse’s side. Their main components include the heel band, neck/shank and rowels; these parts fit around boot heels to provide pressure for steering purposes, while their heads connect rowels to each other via their neck/shank and each rowel has either blunt or pointed tips that contact with the animal’s sides directly.

Selecting the ideal spurs for your needs can be straightforward if you consider how and where you will use them. Your horse’s discipline, training level, leg aid skills and leg aid use all play an integral part in crafting an equation of shank, rowel length and severity that sends clear messages to their mounts.

Rowelled Spur – This style features pronged wheels on either end that spin to reduce their severity as they roll over a horse’s side, making this type popular in English disciplines like dressage and jumping; but it can also be used for Western disciplines.

Flat End Spur – This simple, round spur with no shank is frequently seen in English riding and ideal for beginners who wish to gain experience as it does not cause their horse any pain or kick him.

Spurs can be devastatingly cruel if used improperly and are usually disallowed from competition by some equestrian organizations. Prolonged and inappropriate spur use can damage horses’ sides permanently and teach them to ignore leg aids from riders – both issues should be taken seriously when considering spur use; consult with a professional trainer first before using spurs as any tool can become potentially hazardous in the wrong hands; always check with the governing body of your discipline for guidance before using spurs!


Though some riders misinterpret spurs as tools designed for punishment, their real purpose is actually assisting riders in controlling their mounts. Spurs differ from crop or bit in that they give small, invisible signals which may have more of an effect than directly punishing horses; they work best when used together with other tools for direction, although they also work well alone.

Modern spurs consist of three parts – the heel band, neck/shank, and rowels. Rowels are metal discs attached by hinges that sit either smooth or spiked depending on their type. A cover may feature carvings, colors, or etchings which attach them to the neck by an elastic strap; depending on their type and level of experience the rider, rowels may be either aggressive or gentle depending on whether multiple rowels or sharp points are used; experienced riders should opt for less aggressive versions instead.

Length of shank can also make an impactful statement about you as a rider. A longer shank provides contact without forcing an extreme shift in posture; therefore it makes an excellent choice for riders with longer legs. Conversely, short shanks force riders to swivel their foot more often and exert greater pressure on their horse.

No matter the size or type of spurs used, it’s crucial that they apply pressure with minimal force in order to avoid hurting the horse. Applying too much force could cause soreness or even abrasions to occur on certain spots which would hinder his response time for other directions like riding crop and reins.


The shank of a spur is the arm which extends the rowel out from a rider’s boot, and its thickness makes a significant difference in how it affects a horse. A long shank may require riders to swivel their foot out from under their posture and apply too much force when applying pressure; on the other hand, too little pressure applied may send confusing messages back from rider and mount alike.

To properly size a shank, put the spur on your horse and use a flexible tape measure to mark its center button across the top of each foot with a flexible tape measure. Next, take measurements from one button across another foot using regular ruler. With this information in hand, you can determine what spur size will work best with your hoof shape and use that information to select an ideal pair – such as HS Sprenger FairRider spurs designed with thick rounded neck ends that provide soft influences to help ease into them quickly!