Western Spur

Written by Linda Alexander
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The western spur is a rodeo accessory that differs significantly from the English riding spur. The English style is light, conservative, and has a slight knobby projection on it. The western spur is thicker, heavier, and almost always has a rowel. Horseback riders throughout the ages have used spurs; in the American west today, spur styles continue to change.

Early Spanish designs are still evident in the spurs worn by rodeo cowboys today. Design has also been influenced by wearing chaps. When cowboys wear long chaps, a dropped heel pattern and a chap guard are important. The guard is a projection just behind the heel which keeps the rowel away from the chap. In areas where long chaps aren't worn, some cowboys opt for a straight shank and no chap guard.

Western Spur Jingles

Jingle bobs are another popular piece of riding gear. These metal pieces hang from the rowel and make a ringing jingle sound when the spurs move, either while walking or riding. Western spurs are held on to the boot by a leather strap called a spur strap.

Today, spurs are used mainly for decoration to complete the western look when competing in shows. The National Western Stock Show's animal welfare rules state, "No locked rowels or rowels that will lock on spurs may be used on bareback horses or saddle broncs. Spurs must be dulled."

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