Types of spurs and how to use them with horses


Spurs are a tool that can be used in practically all equestrian disciplines. They are kind of metallic spikes that are arranged in the heel of the rider's boots in order to help you direct the horse's movements.

It is very important to know how and when to use them to avoid abuse of them and the horses that can be harmed. For this, there are some rules both in its design and in its use.

Can we see what types of spurs exist and how to use them?

I find it interesting to open this article talking about whether spurs are or are not necessary. In my opinion the answer is no they are. If it is true that using them properly they can be a tool that makes the rider's job easier and they can improve communication with the horse.

You have to be very clear that the spurs they are not to harm our animal, not a form of punishment and therefore should be used with care. Precise and subtle movements must be made not to kick our horse.


Parts of the spurs

They are made up of 6 elements. A arc, also called the body, which is the curved part that fits the heel of the rider's boot. The legs, which are the parts that go down the sides of the boot. The belt, which is the strap that holds the spur to the rider's foot. The ojal that joins the strap and the bow. The slice or roulette which is what you touch the horse with to spur it on. And finally the rooster, pigüelo or pihuelo, which is the part where the roulette is held, whether it spins or not.

Parts of the spur

Type of spurs

When choosing a spur, it is very important to know the difference between those that have a spinning wheel and those that do not. I recommend the first ones since a spinning roulette, prevents it from pressing the horse's skin and draining, making it smoother than one that does not spin where we could harm our animal more easily than with those that rotate.

Spinning wheel spur

We can find different types of spurs:

English spur

Made of stainless steel and with different sizes depending on the length of the rooster. The head is rectangular with smooth, rounded edges. We can find different types of English spur:

  • English spur with ball: the ball can be rotatable
  • English spur with roulette: It is thicker and harder, finished in a roulette wheel with a spiked spinning disc.
  • English spur with star: It is the one in which the roulette wheel has teeth instead of being smooth.

Spur hammer

Made of stainless steel or rubber. The rooster is usually about 20 mm. The head is flat and rectangular.

Ball spur

Made of nickel with a ball-shaped finish.

Rooster types and use

Roosters can be straight or curved, that is, they can either point downward or toward the horse. In addition to that, depending on its length and use, we find three types:

The short rooster

It is a type of rooster used in the equestrian discipline of show jumping. This is due to the fact that the body of the rider is very close to that of the horse and therefore the rooster must be short (15 mm) so that it is the same for both the rider and the animal.

It is often used to motivate the horse just before the jump.

The Middle Rooster

Is the one that usually used in a general way. It is about 20mm long and is suitable for everyone of medium height.

The Long Rooster

Is used for dressage, especially for those who are very tall. It measures about 30 mm.

Use of spurs

The spurs must be arranged snugly fitted to the heel of the boot of the rider. They must be in perfect contact with the heel without squeezing but without moving. Ideally, they should stay on the edge of the heel, depending on the type of clear boot. And differentiate which one goes on each foot, right and left.

Horse spurs

It is important to know how to adjust the straps well and choose the right size. We can find sizes for children, youth, women and men. But this does not mean that women's boots are the ones that adapt well to a woman's boot. It depends on where we are going to place it, the length of the spur and our taste. The ideal is to consult with the experts of the store which spur which size suits you best.

How to use them?

As we mentioned at the beginning, the spurs can be used in practically any equestrian discipline. To use them on our horse, we must give brief and precise touches on the side of the animal. These touches will be given with the heel in order to increase speed, turn or go forward.

A good use of the spurs, being aware at all times of our state of mind (since if we are angry or frustrated it can lead us to misuse them) and the movements we make can be a way of communicating with our animal. A way of communicating and receiving a response from the horse more effectively. It is not to do harm, it is to improve our ability as horsemen. However, we remember that its use is not necessary for riding.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article as much as I did writing it.

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