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
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