View Full Version : Western peeps - how to choose spurs?

Jun. 23, 2010, 01:50 PM
For the first time I have a horse and tack situation which benefits from the occasional use of spurs! I have a pair of english spurs. My new QH occasionally needs a little "hello, that was my leg talking to you just now!" nudge, and I don't want to carry a crop or stick. (doing the westerny thing. when I was riding english, I tended to carry a crop or whip if needed, and never used the spurs anyway. I find the crop or whip more awkward with the western gear).

The english spurs "work", except they are very short, and the way this guy is built (deep chest, but goes in at the bottom, not rounded out where I can reach without twisting my leg around) and my long legs relative to his height, I think a longer shank would be more useful?

I tend to look at western spurs in the store and just think they look pretty complicated and scary, so I was hoping some of you who ride wearing them could give me some tips as to what to look for. I don't need "strong" spurs by any means, just a little backup to my leg now and then. I'd like to order online. Is there a good way to see which styles are more mild or harsher, without running them up and down my arms in person?

Also, what kinds of spur straps are good/bad? Any tips there in terms of features to look for?


Jun. 23, 2010, 02:19 PM
*puts on flame suit*

These are the most common and are irritating enough to let them know you mean business without gouging the crap out of them.


Always use leather straps not the nylon or chain ones.

You can try these http://www.statelinetack.com/item/standard-slip-on-spurs/WOY04/ but I never had much luck with them staying on my boots for long rides. I have a pretty thin heel and just had issues.
If you have issues with the spur riding up you can take a piece of hay twine and run a string on the bottom of the boot. A correct fit will be snug without you really noticing you are wearing them. Some spurs jingle others don't some horses don't like the sound others don't care. I still have my spurs from when I showed.

Now what NOT to use or use with EXTREME CAUTION:
Those are what the western folks call bronc spurs and will turn your horse into a bronc if used correctly. They will leave track marks on your horse and your horse will not like you much. Only bonus with these is they jingle quiet nicely when you walk.

Jun. 23, 2010, 02:32 PM

These are the type that I would recommend for being 'nicer' - they have a larger rowel, and smaller spaces, therefore better pressure distribution when applied.

Just remember - no matter what length spurs you get, the smaller the rowel, with fewer teeth = more 'bite' when you use them.

Jun. 23, 2010, 02:42 PM
I'm a spur snob, so take that for what it's worth. ;)

I used to buy the 20 buck youth ones (small feet), and watched as they flipped up my boot (like the above poster mentioned). You could tie them down... or you can get a pair that's made right.

Western spurs should not feel, or look like, english spurs with a rowel. They are supposed to be very heavy, and will weight your foot down just a bit before you're used to them. (you probably will trip over them, too!) They are made heavy so they 'sit' on the lip of the heel on your boot--they should fit like a sock, snug but not tight. More expensive spurs are usually longer too--and just made better. And they'll run around 60-80 bucks (gets higher, but we won't go there!).

There's nothing wrong with the cheaper ones... but they're so far from the 'real' western spur.

What you'll be looking for in either is a soft, rounded rowel (the thing that spins). The ones without rowels are usually worse--the rowel can be softly rolled up the horse's side. The blunt ones just jab. Bring the boots you normally wear and try them on! The bigger the spur strap you buy, the better it will hold it and distribute the pressure on your foot (used to have the thin ones, bought the big ones with pretty leather tooling on it when I got my new 'real' spurs).

These are my real spurs (got them on sale. Beautiful piece!)


I luff them, although I rarely use them. I got a soft, fat rowel and use them in shows, mainly. There are some that are cheaper at rods that are still nice, too.

These are what my spur straps look like:


Hope this helps! :)

Jun. 23, 2010, 02:58 PM
I use spurs similar to those in the first link to State Line tack, but a little heavier in weight, I think. And basic leather straps. They stay in place just fine on my cowboy boots but do tend to wander a bit when riding in my Blundstones. Not enough to make me do anything about it- but many of my friends do use the keepers that run under the boots for extra staying power.

Jun. 23, 2010, 03:06 PM
You can also try bumper spurs which are usually used in barrel racing:
I like these because their not sharp but they get your point across and no twisting. I'm 5 feet tall so my legs don't wrap around the barrel of the horse.

I also like rosebud spurs because they have a rounded rowel.

Jun. 23, 2010, 03:08 PM
I'm with you mayfield when it comes to the real spurs. My show spurs are a lot like yours but my every day ones were the stateline tack ones.

Jun. 23, 2010, 03:14 PM
Here are the ones I have. Nice pair, not too rough and they do the job for a good price tag.


Jun. 23, 2010, 03:33 PM
fewer rowels = greater poke/I told you to MOVE- factor

Better to have a longer neck and modest rowel like Pletcher's mom posted so you can reach out and touch him but not poke a hole in him.

I would work at trying them on, on my boots I'm going to ride in, to make sure they feel ok to me. And I second the notion of stout/wider straps to help hold them. YMMV.

Jun. 23, 2010, 05:20 PM
I had a conversation with a lady that thought my western spurs must be harsh. Rounded tips, lots of spokes that rolled easily. I showed her a small thin rowel that is really poky and the worst was the nubby english ones that just poke.

I like my spurs and my horses certainly don't mind. Also, for holding down the spur...fat rubber bands. When they break you just put on a new one. :yes:

Jun. 23, 2010, 05:40 PM
Just the kind of advice I was looking for, thanks guys!!!

Jun. 24, 2010, 09:57 AM
I just recently decided my pony needed western spurs. I had to go out & buy western boots for them to sit on as my old Ariat paddock boots will not let me wear western spurs.

They do make a rubberband holder downer thingie for spurs. Like someone else posted, fit is everything.

Look here

Jun. 25, 2010, 10:45 AM
I bought a pair of "ladies" Western spurs last year. There's no *bling* or fancy tooling; the steel is a "brushed" look with three subtle raised decorative bands along the outside, but that's it. No extra dangly bits to make a lot of jingly noises when I walk.:winkgrin:

They're just very practical, low-key, useful spurs. Enough to get the horse's attention, and that's all I need.