How to fit riding spurs

Das Boots (Ft. Worth, TX)

Image credit: joebrent

Riding spurs come in all different shapes and sizes, but this is just a general guide to fitting them.

  1. Start by fitting the heel of your boot into the U-shaped part of the spur known as the Yoke or Shank.
  2. The boot spur should rest at the top of the heel, where it meets the main body of the boot.
  3. Attach the strap from the ankle around the front of the boot.
  4. Some spurs will have a second strap that should run underneath the boot near to the heel. If yours does, fasten that one on too.
  5. Make sure the riding spur fit is snug, and the spurs shouldn't wobble at all. If they do then tighten the straps until they stop.

And there you go. Make sure you know what you are doing if you plan to ride a horse and use spurs. If used incorrectly they can cause the horse some pain, panic fear and discomfort.

Buying Antique Western Spurs

Here are a list of things to remember and consider when buying any antique westerns spurs or collectable boot spurs. They are not a definitive guide of what to look for but these points will help you with buying items at auctions and finding new gems for your boot spur collection.

History

Make sure that you know the history of the spur you are buying. Is the seller reputable? If you a buying them on eBay, make sure that you look for good feedback on the seller. Find out how to do this here.

Markings

The markings on the western spurs will let you know who made them and in what time period. The North and Judd anchor mark for example. Know your markings!

Design

Each maker has their own design style and unique manufacturing methods when they made their boot spurs. Some use certain styles of Rowel and others have different shaped shanks - so bear this information in mind. You will soon be able to spot the maker with just a glance.

Age

Whether you collect new or old spurs, taking the age into account when buying will allow you to make the right purchase. I suggest that you cross reference the item against another item that has sold. If the price seems to good to be true, bear that in mind. Even really old spurs are not always what they appear to be.

Price

Buying antique spurs at an online auction is most likely the best way to proceed in starting or adding to your collection. All manner of maker, shape and size are available 24 hours a day! But remember that there must be a limit to what you are prepared to spend. Some people just like to have spurs for decoration and actually use them too - but others require them as a collector of fine mid west american history. Don't go mad - bidding too highly is easy to do.

Cowboy Spur Makers – The BIG 3

When you talk about Cowboy Spurs and the makers of western bits, buckles, spurs and tack there are 3 famous makers, referred to as "The BIG 3" that are most common.

Collectors of western memorabilia know these makers as a testament of quality, originality and genuine American history.

North and Judd

North and Judd are probably the oldest "larger scale" manufacturer of spurs and horse-riding equipment, who started in Connecticut before 1800.  They went on to become the supplier of spurs to the US cavalry and army who used them during the American Civil War.

Expansion was key to their success and they bought the Buermann brand which took their workforce to well over 500 people, positioning them as one of the largest and most successful brands.

If you are looking to buy a pair of North and Judd spurs, make sure you look out for the anchor marking, which was hand stamped on to every pair they sold.

Read more about the North And Judd company over at the New Britain Industrial Museum website.

Renalde

As with N&J we have just discussed, the Renalde name, headed up by Jim Renalde (after taking over the company from his late father James), was also a quality brand that bought up other companies to establish themselves in the market.

Renalde had absorbed the Crockett and Kelly names into their brands by as late as the 1960's which made them pretty much the biggest maker of spurs until the company ceased more recently.

The Renalde brand is a more modern success in the realm of western spurs, saddles and equipment and good old business acumen.

Crockett

The Crockett brand is also one of the old-time greats in blacksmithing and making cowboy spurs.  Started in the early 1900's, Oscar Crockett has grown up working in the family business and started out on his own, making spurs and horse-bits, eventually moving to Kansas where he saw out his days making cowboy boots.

As we have already mentioned, the Crockett brand was bought up by Jim Renalde, but before that Oscar had also expanded his own company, bringing on-board the Shipley Spurs company, boosting their sales and profits across the US and the world.

There is a great timeline about Oscar Crockett at The Original Crockett Bit And Spur Company website.

 


Business was booming in the US when these companies started and there was a large demand for good quality bits and spurs for general use, but also for the US army, which was also growing at the time.

However, big business also means that companies are bought, sold and combined.  Jim and James Renalde were perfect business minds, buying the right companies at the right time and became the largest trader of spurs.

Half Mounted Spurs

Half Mounted Spurs

When purchasing a pair of cowboy spurs or vintage cowboy spurs, it is important to know as much information about the item you are buying.

As you become more proficient in knowing the marks of the spur makers and the different designs of rowels, you will be able to spot a pair of North and Judd spurs a mile away.

The term Half Mounted Spurs refers to the silver decoration adorning the spur itself. Half Mounted means that the silver is only visible on one half of the spur - usually the outside so that others can see the decoration.

Half Mounted Spurs can feature a wide range of designs of silver, bronze or copper decals, patterns or motifs. I suspect you could even get a pair with your name mounted on too - if you really wanted!

If you look at the picture above you can see that the silver decoration is only on the outside of the spur, not on the inside.

Full Mounted Spurs

If you are looking for the best pair of antique western spurs to add to your collection, you might want to consider getting yourself a pair of Full Mounted Spurs or Double Mounted Spurs.

This term refers to the extra designs, images or "flash" that are mounted all around both sides of the cowboy spur - inside and out. Most spurs are half mounted, only showing designs on the outside but there are pairs where the maker has decided to put as much silver onto them as possible.

The double mounted spurs will cost more money and will generally be more valuable as a collectors item as the extra amount of the silver, copper or bronze will add to the overall value.

VERY RARE MCCHESNEY STYLE 8 FINE SILVER FULL DOUBLE MOUNT SPURS
VERY RARE MCCHESNEY STYLE 8 FINE SILVER FULL DOUBLE MOUNT SPURS
$3,000.00
Full Strut Turkey Taxidermy Mount 1 1 8 Spurs 8 3 4 Bears 27 Fan
Full Strut Turkey Taxidermy Mount 1 1 8 Spurs 8 3 4 Bears 27 Fan
$150.00
WILD TURKEY FULL STRUT MOUNT W NATURAL HEAD 27 TAIL FAN 10 BRD
WILD TURKEY FULL STRUT MOUNT W NATURAL HEAD 27 TAIL FAN 10 BRD
$358.00
Lagerung Lenker Hinterachse Lemfrder 37704 01
Lagerung Lenker Hinterachse Lemfrder 37704 01
$29.35
TRW Ball Joint JBU167
TRW Ball Joint JBU167
$17.77

Goose Neck Spurs

What are goose neck spurs?

The term Goose Neck Spurs refers to the design on the Shank or neck that protrudes from the rear of the spur to the rowel at the end. Any design that curves slightly in the middle or towards the end is classed as being a goose neck shape.

I guess that the shank that curves towards the end would be more likely to be classed as a goose neck. If you imagine a real gooses head and neck you will be able to imagine what the design will look like when transferred to a cowboy spur.

Many different makers of spurs such as Buermann, Crockett and North and Judd made spurs that feature this kind of design and it is pretty common place.

Gooseneck Silver Mens Matched Spurs
Gooseneck Silver Mens Matched Spurs
$25.00
1 Pair Partrade Gooseneck Horse Reining Show Spurs Satin Black
1 Pair Partrade Gooseneck Horse Reining Show Spurs Satin Black
$29.77
Gooseneck Navajo Western Spurs Cowboy or Cowgirl engraved silver accent BLACK
Gooseneck Navajo Western Spurs Cowboy or Cowgirl engraved silver accent BLACK
$29.95
Black Satin Gooseneck Cross Spurs Blunted Windmill Rowels by Metalab Free Ship
Black Satin Gooseneck Cross Spurs Blunted Windmill Rowels by Metalab Free Ship
$42.50
New Kelly Silver Star Equitation Gooseneck Ball End Western Spurs 78 888L 0 0
New Kelly Silver Star Equitation Gooseneck Ball End Western Spurs 78 888L 0 0
$39.99
HILASON WESTERN STAINLESS STEEL MENS GOOSENECK HORSE RIDING SPURS PAIR
HILASON WESTERN STAINLESS STEEL MENS GOOSENECK HORSE RIDING SPURS PAIR
$29.95
Kelly Silver Star Equitation Humane Gooseneck Spur Ladies Stainless Steel
Kelly Silver Star Equitation Humane Gooseneck Spur Ladies Stainless Steel
$29.97
Kelly Silver Star Twisted Rope Spurs with 10pt Rowel Gooseneck Shank
Kelly Silver Star Twisted Rope Spurs with 10pt Rowel Gooseneck Shank
$28.81
C 7722 HILASON WESTERN STAINLESS STEEL MENS GOOSENECK HORSE RIDING SPURS PAIR
C 7722 HILASON WESTERN STAINLESS STEEL MENS GOOSENECK HORSE RIDING SPURS PAIR
$29.95
Kelly Silver Star Equitation Gooseneck Spur Ladies Stainless Steel
Kelly Silver Star Equitation Gooseneck Spur Ladies Stainless Steel
$44.43
78 888 Kelly Silver Star Equitation Gooseneck Spur NEW
78 888 Kelly Silver Star Equitation Gooseneck Spur NEW
$41.99
Abetta Chromed Steel Roping Spurs Gooseneck Shank with Straps Ladies
Abetta Chromed Steel Roping Spurs Gooseneck Shank with Straps Ladies
$34.96
Kelly Silver Star Equitation Gooseneck Spur Mens Stainless Steel 3 Shank
Kelly Silver Star Equitation Gooseneck Spur Mens Stainless Steel 3 Shank
$36.03
Abetta Double Twist Roping Spurs with Gooseneck Shanks Stainless Steel Mens
Abetta Double Twist Roping Spurs with Gooseneck Shanks Stainless Steel Mens
$308.39
Abetta Engraved Silver Spurs with 2 Gooseneck Shank Blued Steel Mens
Abetta Engraved Silver Spurs with 2 Gooseneck Shank Blued Steel Mens
$45.23
Abetta 1 2 Band Engraved Roping Show Spurs with 1 3 4 Gooseneck Shank
Abetta 1 2 Band Engraved Roping Show Spurs with 1 3 4 Gooseneck Shank
$36.43
Abetta 1 2 Band Engraved Roping Show Spurs with 1 3 4 Gooseneck Shank
Abetta 1 2 Band Engraved Roping Show Spurs with 1 3 4 Gooseneck Shank
$36.43
Abetta Offset Shank Roping Spurs with Gooseneck Shank Antique Brown Mens
Abetta Offset Shank Roping Spurs with Gooseneck Shank Antique Brown Mens
$36.43
Abetta Stainless Steel Plain Twist Spurs with 1 2 Band and Gooseneck Shank
Abetta Stainless Steel Plain Twist Spurs with 1 2 Band and Gooseneck Shank
$41.46
Abetta Stainless Steel Plain Twist Spurs with 1 2 Band and Gooseneck Shank
Abetta Stainless Steel Plain Twist Spurs with 1 2 Band and Gooseneck Shank
$41.46
Abetta Stainless Steel Plain Twist Spurs with 1 2 Band and Gooseneck Shank
Abetta Stainless Steel Plain Twist Spurs with 1 2 Band and Gooseneck Shank
$42.29

The Spur: History, Art, Culture, Function

cowboy spurs book

This book is a must if you are interested in collecting anything related to western american memorabilia. The book, part of a 3 part series on cowboy gear, features photographs by David R. Stoecklein showing cowboys spurs and related items in glorious color and in perfect detail.

The amazing workmanship can be seen in each of the items that David has chosen to photograph and they are all stunning images and great examples of the skill of their makers.

You will be able to learn about the different styles and types of cowboy spurs and how they changed through the ages and how they differed in different parts of the country. You will also be able to see great examples of Mexican and Spanish spurs.

With each photograph comes a back story of the item being shown which only adds to the richness of the images you are looking at.

If you are an antique cowboy spurs collector or are interested in fine vintage American items, then this book will be a perfect addition to your bookshelf.

Buy the book at Amazon now.

See a list of other books by David R. Stoecklein featuring Western American photographs and information.

Cavalry Spurs

The use of boot spurs in a military cavalry is something that historically has been used in many different militia throughout the ages. Cavalry Spurs were widely used as items of award or as a sign of rank and experience within a cavalry and were given to those soldiers who had progressed on to more than just a basic recruit.

After the soldiers were involved in their first combat situation, they were awarded a pair of boot spurs as a form of medal and then became part of The Order Of The Spur. These spurs and certificate were often given at a dinner or event called a "Spur Dinner" where all rookie soldiers were awarded their spurs.

There is also a process and tradition called a Spur Ride where new recruits performed a series of tests and events designed to test their ability on a horse and also their knowledge of the rules, regulations, history and traditions which they were expected to recite from memory. This Spur Ride was also a way that the soldiers were able to earn their spurs to show that they were more experienced riders and fighters than other new recruits.

Within the Cavalry, the soldiers that wore spurs then became of a higher rank or level than those who had none. Although the soldiers may have been of a similar military rank, the fact that they had earned their spurs in battle or on a mission was a sign of their seniority over those who had yet to get them.

The Cavalry spurs were usually made from silver and were mostly the English, Prince Of Wales style spurs. There were also sets of gold spurs that were reserved for the soldiers of proper higher military rank or those that had been involved a higher number of combat situations.

MEXICAN CHARRO SPURS ESPUELAS CHARRAS CHARRERIA CHARRO SADDLE HORSE GEAR
MEXICAN CHARRO SPURS ESPUELAS CHARRAS CHARRERIA CHARRO SADDLE HORSE GEAR
$39.99
1885 Brass Cavalry Spurs w rowels New
1885 Brass Cavalry Spurs w rowels New
$15.00
Praying Cowboy Cross Western Show Spurs Standing Horse Antique Brown Color Mens
Praying Cowboy Cross Western Show Spurs Standing Horse Antique Brown Color Mens
$39.99
Antique Arizona Cavalry Spurs With Leather Straps Marked Arizona
Antique Arizona Cavalry Spurs With Leather Straps Marked Arizona
$35.00
EXCAVATED CIVIL WAR LEECH  RIGDON CAVALRY SPUR TULLAHOMA TN
EXCAVATED CIVIL WAR LEECH RIGDON CAVALRY SPUR TULLAHOMA TN
$8.27
Praying Cowboy Horse Cross Western Show Spurs Sweet Iron Silver Engraving Mens
Praying Cowboy Horse Cross Western Show Spurs Sweet Iron Silver Engraving Mens
$39.99
Vintage Etched Engraved Brass Jingle Bob Horse Cowboy Spurs Leather Straps
Vintage Etched Engraved Brass Jingle Bob Horse Cowboy Spurs Leather Straps
$325.00
US 1904 RIA marked cavalry spurs and straps
US 1904 RIA marked cavalry spurs and straps
$30.00
US CAVALRY SPUR MARKED ALLEGHENY ARSENAL FROM SHILOH PEBBLE HILL
US CAVALRY SPUR MARKED ALLEGHENY ARSENAL FROM SHILOH PEBBLE HILL
$85.00
MEXICAN CHARRO BLUE SPURS ESPUELAS CHARRAS AZULES SADDLE HORSE CHARRO SPURS
MEXICAN CHARRO BLUE SPURS ESPUELAS CHARRAS AZULES SADDLE HORSE CHARRO SPURS
$69.99
Ladies Floral Show Spurs with Silver and Copper Trim NEW HORSE TACK
Ladies Floral Show Spurs with Silver and Copper Trim NEW HORSE TACK
$43.99
Antique 1914 WWI US marked Army Cavalry Spurs SANTA FE
Antique 1914 WWI US marked Army Cavalry Spurs SANTA FE
$24.99
Vintage ROY ROBINSON Stainless Steel SPURS W STRAPS Cowboy Western Horse
Vintage ROY ROBINSON Stainless Steel SPURS W STRAPS Cowboy Western Horse
$135.00
US Army Silver Cavalry Spurs  Straps Prince Of Wales Order Of The Spur Award
US Army Silver Cavalry Spurs Straps Prince Of Wales Order Of The Spur Award
$13.54
US Army Gold Cavalry Spurs  Straps Prince Of Wales Order Of The Spur Award
US Army Gold Cavalry Spurs Straps Prince Of Wales Order Of The Spur Award
$12.77
All Around Western Rodeo Ranch Horse Spurs 1 Brass Rowel 3 Wide 3 1 2 Deep
All Around Western Rodeo Ranch Horse Spurs 1 Brass Rowel 3 Wide 3 1 2 Deep
$11.65
1 Pair Model 1885 Solid Brass Combat Cavalry Spurs Rowel  Leather Straps
1 Pair Model 1885 Solid Brass Combat Cavalry Spurs Rowel Leather Straps
$15.77
Offset Cutting Horse Spurs Silver Cross Floral Engraving Long Shank Ladies
Offset Cutting Horse Spurs Silver Cross Floral Engraving Long Shank Ladies
$39.99
Old Cowboy new unused stock dove wing basket stamped wide horse spur straps
Old Cowboy new unused stock dove wing basket stamped wide horse spur straps
$85.00
Stainless Steel LONG SHANK Western Horse Spurs w Leather Straps
Stainless Steel LONG SHANK Western Horse Spurs w Leather Straps
$48.00
Old Cowboy fancy hand tooled horse spur straps marked Gary Keithley Idaho Melba
Old Cowboy fancy hand tooled horse spur straps marked Gary Keithley Idaho Melba
$85.00

Cowboy Spur Heel Chain

An important part of the cowboy spur is the heel chain. Although this item is not really required to keep the spurs on your boots (depending on the spur design), it does add a little extra flash and show.

The spur heel chain is designed go around the back of the wearers boot but many of the normal sets of spurs you can buy are designed to use a spur strap or tiedown instead of the chain. The chains were possibly introduced to make the fit of spur more snug against the boot.

The heel chains were either made from silver or a cheaper metal. They are also of a very fine design and are not designed to withstand anything too rough. If you want to imagine what the chain is like, think of a slightly larger version of a silver necklace.

Spur heel chains Hold tight steel Cowboy boot heel chains Spur Tie down chain
Spur heel chains Hold tight steel Cowboy boot heel chains Spur Tie down chain
$33.99
JINGLE BOB ENGRAVED Vintage SPURS PAIR w Heel Chain COWBOY WESTERN Antique
JINGLE BOB ENGRAVED Vintage SPURS PAIR w Heel Chain COWBOY WESTERN Antique
$249.99
Hand made COWBOY SPURS Metal Large Rowel Heel Chain used
Hand made COWBOY SPURS Metal Large Rowel Heel Chain used
$169.21