Using Spurs

Question: When/how do you use spurs?

Answer: Spurs are use to make horses respond to leg cues. They do not always cause the horse to fly forward as if the Devil were upon him. :-) Until the 14th century, the prick spur was used. This is simply a Y- or wishbone-shaped spur that was fastened on the heel with a buckled strap. The spur could have a blunt end, or be more pointed if the animal was sluggish to respond to cues. The shaft of the spur was usually less than an inch long. If you really gouge a horse with any type of spur, you can injure them, so be careful when you have your characters dig their spurs into a horse's sides. You actually have to tilt your foot and heel up and in to do this, and to hold the position is not very comfortable. Spurs are just an aid to get your point across a little better.

Rowel spurs, which have a star-shaped wheel attached to the stem, came about in the 14th century. These are the spurs that jingle jangle jingle. Picture Clint Eastwood walking across that saloon floor, his spurs clanking. These wheels actually spin, and you can "rake" them across a horse's side if you aren't careful. Rodeo cowboys do this on purpose when riding saddle broncs--the spurs are dull so they don't break the skin

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