Spurs are one of the distinctive pieces
of equipment that have been used by horsemen throughout the ages.
In the days of chivalry, spurs and the metal from which they were made
were a mark of rank. Hence the expression "to earn your spurs."
Today they are a standard piece of cowboy equipment and, as with most
horse equipment, the design varies widely depending upon the region
and the wearer. In today's American west, spur styles continue to
change. Spurs almost invariably have rowels. The influence
of ornate early Spanish design is still evident. Spur design was
also influenced by the wearing of chaps. Where long chaps are
worn, as in the Northwest, a dropped heel pattern and a chap guard are
important. The chap guard consists of a curved blunt projection
on the shank just behind the heel which helps keep the chap clear of
the rowel. In areas where long chaps are not needed, a straight
shank without a chap guard can be worn. A number of interesting
spurs are pictured below or go to more pages about spurs: [ Spurs: History & Usage ][ E F Blanchard Cowboy Spur Maker ][ Garcia Bits and Spurs ][ Spurs: Prison Made Spurs ][ Amozoc Spurs ][ Adolph Bayers Spurs ]
E. F. Blanchard #4 spurs
made in Yucca, Arizona. Popular with cow punchers
in New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California
These ornate jeweled silver
Bear have a set of chains that go under the instep of
the boot called "tie downs." They help keep the spur
in place. Also note the "jingle bobs" hanging
from the end of the shank below the rowel. The jingle
bobs offer decoration and it is said their bell-like jingling
helps keep the horse alert.
Texas, this gal leg spur from contemporary Weatherford,
Texas maker Ray Anderson has a silver and copper acorn &
oak leaf overlay on the spur band. Note this spur
has no chap guard. The E. F. Blanchard spur at the
top of the article was made in Arizona and has a chap guard,
as does the Allie Bear spur above.
A set of working
mounted unmarked California style spurs with double heel
or tie-down chains one of which are missing
Or you can
make a personal statement with your spurs like these pistol
spurs belonging to Sharron Martin, Brand X Custom
Boots & Saddles, of Mountain Home, Idaho.
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