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Why Do Cowboy Boots Have Spurs?

Why Do Cowboy Boots Have Spurs?

There are many people who don’t really understand what the main use of spurs is for cowboy boots.

Well, that’s understandable, since recently it’s common to see ranchers appearing on specialized trucks rather than on horseback. Therefore, the image of cowboy boots with spurs also gradually fades.

In fact, in the past, spurs were useful accessories for cowboy boots to aid farmers riding horses.

Today’s article will go deeper into this content.

It’s very simple!

What are the purposes of spurs on cowboy boots?

In the past, to be able to command horses, cowboys needed to have certain contact on their bodies.

If you’ve ever been to the wild west and seen the cowboys on horseback, you’ll sometimes see horses that spin, move forward, or bend through its body. They do it because they receive orders from cowboys, and cowboys use spurs to generate those commands.

a cowboy wears spur on his cowboy boot to command the horse

In short, spurs are items that are attached to cowboy boots to help the rider better communicate with the horse while riding. The cowboys will lightly touch the rowels of spurs to the horse.

Don’t worry too much about hurting the horses since spurs are not harmful to the horses at all.

Actually, the rowel of spurs has a multi-tooth design and is not sharp but glides smoothly. Some spurs have rowels like marble, and the marble can’t hurt a horse.

An impact from the cowboy to command the horse also has a negligible force to hurt the horse. Some other cowboys use spurs to kick the back cinch of the saddle and give the horse a light knock to signal them, and that doesn’t hurt the horse at all.

It’s also not illegal to wear spurs on cowboy boots as long as they are properly designed following some standards, that is, its rowels are not sharp and the shank length is no more than 4 centimeters (from the end of the shank to the boot).

a cowboy boot spur

But, who knows, if you see someone using spurs to injure a horse, sue them for animal abuse.

In practice, though, spurs are no longer useful today. The reason is obvious that cowboys really know how to lead horses without spurs. And the horses are also tamed and taught to be smart enough to understand the rider’s intentions.

Just go to a Texas ranch, you can see many ranchers wearing cowboy boots to ride horses all day without having to use spurs to touch the horse once.

Some athletes in rodeo still have the habit of wearing spurs as a backup to signal and lead their horses in case their horses for some reason cannot receive their information through the signal of hand, legs, seat, or voice.


In general, spurs are an accessory worn by cowboys in cowboy boots to aid them in communicating and leading the horses.

Spurs don’t hurt horses. The properly designed spurs aren’t illegal either.

However, you won’t see spurs much these days because professional ranchers know how to steer a horse without the need for spurs. And horses have also been trained and tamed very well.

However, in noisy and stressful places like Rodeo, sometimes horses can’t hear or feel the signals from your hands, seat, legs or voice, so spurs are still necessary items to back up.