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Spurs: Cowboy Gear
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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

E. F. Blanchard #4 spurs
Ruby Silver Spurs by Allie Bear These ornate jeweled silver spurs by Allie 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.

Popular in 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.

Ray Anderson gal leg spurs
Working spurs A set of  working spurs.

Old silver mounted unmarked California style spurs with double heel or tie-down chains one of which are missing

California style spurs...unmarked.  Courtesy of George Parman
Pistol shanked spurs, blued and silver inlayed, belonging to Sharron Martin

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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Revised: July 31, 2013

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