How riding spurs work

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Spurs are small metal tools that are attached to a rider’s boots. They’re used across most equestrian disciplines today and, historically, were used by the vast majority of military orders. Spurs are designed to grant horse riders the ability to transmit subtle commands to their horse via pressure and strokes of a metal shank or rowel (see image above). Riders initiate spur commands by flexing their heel upwards and inwards slightly, pressing the metal element against the horse’s body. The motion and intensity of this pressure directly translates to a certain (taught) command, though the majority indicate changes in speed or direction.