Jim Ottevaere wrote:It is my opinion that spurs should be worn by all accomplished horsemen. (If the horse "does not need the spur" don't apply it). They are an essential aid and the correct use of the spur at the appropriate time is the mark of a confident rider and competent horseman. If the rider is of average or longer leg length the spurs should be placed either on the spur rest, if the boot has them, or at the stitching of the heel counter. Short legged riders may need to lower them somewhat below the rest. Spurs should never be flopping at the heel. They are of little use there and only serve as a distraction. They should be adjusted and tightened so that they remain firmly in place. The side bars should be parallel with the boot heel and the points down. The buckles should be to the outside. After proper adjustment the excess strap billet should be trimmed short. With the spurs attached in this manner they will be an effective aid, and you will always know where they are.
The type of spur selected should be without rowels, with blunt ends. The length of the shank, or neck, should be as short as possible, but long enough to make contact when properly applied. The spur is applied from the calf, not the heel. The spur should be rotated into contact, not driven rearward with the heel. Contact should be in short sharp "pricks" of pressure, not hard kicks or sustained contact.
Western horsemen wear the spur differently because of the traditional boot style and the encumberance of the western saddle, but the art of proper application is the same. The big rowels of the western style are a tradition that harkens back to the half broke, short lived, western range horse, but when worn by an accomplished horseman these spurs may also be skillfully applied.