There is a very popular tool to support traditional cowboy boots since they appeared – that is spurs. But it seems that people often forget them now.
The primary function of traditional cowboy boots is to aid in horseback riding. These boots feature distinct design elements specifically tailored for this purpose.
Firstly, the heel, usually about 2 inches high and slanted, acts almost like a hook. This design prevents the rider’s foot from sliding too far forward and inadvertently slipping out of the saddle’s stirrup.
Secondly, the slippery outsoles of cowboy boots are intentionally designed to allow for smooth entry and exit from the stirrups.
Lastly, the pointed toe of these boots facilitates easy insertion and removal from the stirrups, further enhancing the rider’s ease and safety.
Separate from these features, spurs, which are often associated with cowboy boots, serve a different function altogether.
In the past, spurs were one of the good tools to help cowboys better communicate with horses (more on that below).
Nowadays, cowboys or horse trainers usually don’t use spurs much (even though they still wear spurs) since they can ride all day without even touching the horse with spurs.
However, for some first-time riders, spurs are a good tool to create your cool look and can help you get the horse to do some needed movements!
And one thing that you need to keep in mind is, attaching spurs to cowboy boots properly is not an easy task.
Today’s post was born to guide you on how to put spurs on cowboy boots! Follow us!
- What is the point of Spurs on Cowboy Boots?
- Before you start to put Spurs on cowboy boots
- How to Put Spurs on Cowboy Boots?
- How should Spurs fit on boots?
- Do Spurs point up or down?
- Are boot Spurs illegal?
- Are Spurs sharp?
- Are Spurs necessary?
- Do Spurs hurt the horse?
- Before you leave
What is the point of Spurs on Cowboy Boots?
The purpose of the spur is that you can communicate with your horse better. Spur is a tool to help your horse understand you clearly.
Spur helps your horse know what your ideas are and what you want to do. From there, they will obey your orders.
Every leg aid through spurs is a command to the horse. You can tell it to spin, bend through its body, move forward, or other movements if needed.
By pressing and releasing gently, the horses can understand what you mean.
However, spurs are not really necessary nowadays. True riders can ride all day without having to use the spurs to tough the horse even once.
Before you start to put Spurs on cowboy boots
You need to prepare 2 things: spur and spur straps – Don’t forget to buy spur traps!
Make sure the spur is made from strong, hard metal (steel) while the spur straps should be made from leather.
When buying a spur, choose one that fits cowboy boots as much as possible. Besides, choosing spur straps is also very important. If the spur is slightly wide on cowboy boots, the spur straps can correct the spur.
If you buy offline, please always bring your cowboy boots to the store to try on these spurs.
But if you buy online, you should carefully read the reviews of previous customers to get the right decision. You can look into the Q & A section or call the counselor…
The spurs should fit cowboy boots to prevent them from slipping when you use them.
How is a spur supposed to fit? Check it right below!
How to Put Spurs on Cowboy Boots?
Step 1: Determine the correct position to attach the spur on the cowboy boots
Cowboy boot heel has a protruding part that creates a shelf to rest the heel band of the spur – that ridge is called a spur ledge. Most cowboy boots have spur ledges for you to hold the heel band. Before attaching the spur on cowboy boots, you should check whether your cowboy boots have a spur ledge.
However, depending on the type of spurs you choose, you can attach them to the heel of cowboy boots or place them on the spur ledge as most people do.
We recommend choosing the spur attached to the spur ledge for its convenient and user-friendly features. This spur gives you flexibility when you walk on the ground. It is also quite easy to remove from your cowboy boots.
Step 2: Attach spur straps to the spur
You would have two small spur straps to attach to the heel band, one of them comes with a buckle.
Each spur strap has slit holes on each end. Use your hands to spread the holes and put them through the button of the heel band. Then slightly rotate to help the button fit and flush the strap.
Do the same thing with the other side. Make sure the leather sits flush under the button.
Note: you should put the buckle part of the straps on the outside of the foot to ensure your comfort and convenience.
Step 3: Attach spur to cowboy boots
Note, please attach the spur to the cowboy boot in the right direction so that the decorative side facing outward.
You can adjust the heel band to fit your back heel. If the spur is too wide, squeeze it. Otherwise, if they are too tight, pull them apart. As long as the heel band can move up and down slightly but don’t slide off the ledge.
Next, put them on the back heel, then lock them like you’re wearing a watch! – Loop the spur straps over the instep, slip into the buckle and then lock it. Make sure the spur straps fit snugly!
On some types of spurs, to keep them from moving and can stay on the back heel of cowboy boots, the spur may have an additional small leather strap. What you need to do is wrap the leather strap around the heel of the cowboy boot, through the nook of the heel.
Let’s look at the picture below!
Now you’re ready to sit on horseback!
- The buckle part should face out the foot while the other part of the straps is facing into the horse’s body.
- Don’t let the spurs stick too snug with the cowboy boots. If they get tight, take your hands and pull them out – this may take some effort.
- You don’t need to unlock the spur straps to remove the spur from the cowboy boots. Next time you just take off the cowboy boots, slide the spur and spur straps up out of the shaft. Likewise, when you want to wear the spur again, just slide them down from the top of the cowboy boots.
How should Spurs fit on boots?
Don’t let spurs fit snugly with cowboy boots, they have to be a bit loose.
Spurs attached to cowboy boots must be loose enough to move them up and down, but don’t make them slide off the cowboy boots.
If they are a bit tight, use your hands to spread them out. But if they are too loose, use your hands to squeeze them.
Remember, the spur attached to the cowboy boots must be a bit loose, not snugly fit, not too loose.
Do Spurs point up or down?
Depending on the different types of spurs, they point up or down. However, people would prefer to let spurs point up rather than point them down.
If the spurs point down, it is difficult for you to contact your horse. In this case, you have to lower the toe, lift the heel to use the spurs to contact the horse. Doing so will lose flexibility and comfort while you control the horse. This won’t happen if the spurs point up.
Are boot Spurs illegal?
Boot spurs are illegal when they hurt animals – here are horses.
Boot spurs are not allowed to be sharp but smooth, even though they are made of plastic and metal.
Besides, the shank length can’t be longer than 4 centimeters (it is measured from the end of the shank to the boots) and points towards the rear.
Are Spurs sharp?
Spurs aren’t sharp, it is only illegal when you use them harshly to harm horses.
In fact, spurs aren’t as sharp as you think. Spurs contact the horse through Rowels – it’s the spinning wheel with the teeth (or spikes) at the end of the spur.
These spikes aren’t sharp. With more spikes, they will limit the bite of the rowels to the horse.
When cowboys use spurs to command horses, it’s just like they are massaging horses with no pain at all.
Sometimes Rowel can be a ball, and it is not sharp at all.
Are Spurs necessary?
Nowadays, spurs aren’t necessary anymore.
Spurs are not the only tool to help you communicate and command horses, you can signal them with a bridle.
And for those who wear cowboy boots for fashion, it is not necessary to wear spurs. From our view, it’s no big deal whether you wear a spur or not.
A true cowboy or horse trainer knows how to communicate with the horse all day long without using spurs.
Do Spurs hurt the horse?
The spurs won’t hurt the horse. If you see a guy using a sharp spur and hurting a horse, sue him, it’s illegal.
The contact between the spur and the horse’s skin is Rowel – the end of the spur. Rowel is designed to be a small-toothed wheel. Rowel teeth are not sharp but smooth.
Rowels with multi-tooth design limit the bite to the horse. This multi-toothed design distributes the force evenly and gently to the horse’s skin.
That means spur can only massage horses. Don’t worry anymore!
Sometimes Rowel is just a ball, and it is completely harmless to horse skin.
In fact, as I said above, real riders don’t use spurs very often, and if they do, they also touch the spur with the horse very gently,
And finally, a lot of riders hit the spur on the back cinch of the saddle (thereby creating an impact from the back cinch to the horse). And you know, the back cinch is completely incapable of causing any pain to the horse.
Before you leave
Spurs are no longer used as much as in the 19th century, but they are still one of the symbols of Western America.
So if you intend to go to Texas and try a horseback ride on the immense hills, buy yourself a full set of cowboy clothes including spurs to experience it all!
Are you satisfied with the instructions and answers above? Let us know in the comments!
Howdy y’all, and welcome to From The Guest Room, your ultimate guide to all things Western! I’m Jay Gatz, a lifelong cowboy boot enthusiast with over 5 years of experience in the Western style world. I’m excited to share my knowledge with you and help you discover the perfect cowboy boots and western gear to elevate your style. Let’s explore the rich history and timeless appeal of Western fashion together!