We have been asked by a reader Tracey about how should spurs be fitted. Although a simple question with a relatively simple answer far too many riders ride with wrongly fitted spurs which can make them uncomfortable to ride in the wearer and lose their desired action on the horse and potentially cause the horse injury..
A correctly fitted spur will be forgotten by the rider as it will not pinch rub or inhibit the movement of the ankle or foot. A badly fitted spur though will be a constant frustration.
Firstly here on the left and right is a spur correctly fitted spur to the rider concerned. The back of the spur sits into the groove above the rider’s heel and then there is a very slight downward angle so the spur sits just below the ankle bones on the outside. the end of the spur should finish so that there is a direct line down to just infront of the heel so that the strap sits tight against the heel. When done up the spur should not have any movement especially up or down the heel. This is achieved by sitting in the groove at the back of the heel and then tight (but not restrictively so) with the strap across the front of the ankle where the foot bend and underneath wedged against the heel. The angle may well be slightly different on each rider dependant on the structure of the ankle but the general rules apply. You will also note how the excess strap has been tucked between the spur and the boot. Some spurs will have one side slightly shorter than the other. This desig is to make them slightly more comfortable for the wearer and so the shorter side is worn on the inside of the foot. This design will result in a slightly different angle for the straps to under the heel but the same principles apply to ensure the spur is fitted comfortably and securely.
Here to the left we have a spur that is fitted too low in front causing too large an angle upwards in the spur meaning the spur itself ends up pointing upwards despite the point having a natural downwards curve. If the spur is pointing upwards this will apply a sharper pressure to the horse and will increase the likelihood of rubs and sores developing from spur use. The probable cause for the spur being too low infront is that the sides of the spur are too long and therefore in order to be comfortable the rider has needed to fit them lower infront. The simple solution if lengthening the amount of strap going below the foot results in the spur being uncomfortable is to buy a pair of spurs with shorter sides.
Lastly to the right we have a spur which is too low behind. Because of how low the spur is fitted it will actually be rather loose meaning that the spur will lift and ride up the heel. This movement will greatly lessen the effect of the spur and will also greatly increase the chance of rubs occurring. The main reasons for a spur being too low is either the front is fitted too high or the strap is fitted too loosely allowing the spur to move up and down.
So now go grab your spurs and look carefully at how they are fitted. When done up can you move them up and down? if so the fit needs adjusting. Now can you walk round comfortably whilst wearing them? If no the fit needs adjusting some more. If you can’t fit them both securely and comfortably it would suggest you need new spurs so head down to your local tack shop with your boots and try some on!