Horse Guards with Spurs

What is a Spur?

Spurs are usually worn in pairs on the heels of riding boots. Their purpose is to help direct the horse to move forward or laterally while riding. They help to refine commands but to also backup more natural riding aids such as the legs, hands and voice.

The spur was first used by the Celts during the La Tène period which began in the 5th century BC.

A medieval knight was said to have ‘earned his spurs’ and this phrase has continued in to the modern era as an honour given to individuals in organisations with military heritage. Members of the British Order of the Garter receive spurs from the Monarchy.

Spur styles differ between disciplines. For instance, spurs used for western riding tend to be more decorated and heavier. Spurs used in English riding tend to be of a more conservative design and are very slim and sleek with a rounded or blunt end.

When used in sports riding such as dressage, the spur’s purpose is not to speed up a horse, but to give accurate aids during complex movements. Dressage riders tend to ride in ‘Waterford’ style spurs which have a rounded knob on the end.

Collectors of spurs look for beautiful antique spurs which often include a ‘rowel spur’. The rowel is a revolving wheel or disk containing radiating points, typically the type seen in Western Movies.

Nowadays there are strict rules that dictate spur design so as to remove the possibility of inflicting damage to animals during their use.

We stock a wide variety of Military Spurs on our website. Follow the link to view our selection.

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