How to Use English Spur Straps

Written by angela baird
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How to Use English Spur Straps
Spurs increase communication between horse and rider. (show horse & rider image by Clarence Alford from

English spurs, like their Western counterparts, are meant to improve communication between you and your horse. A spur is often needed for a horse that is dull and does not respond to the directional cues you give with your legs. The spur on your boot slightly intensifies that cue, when properly used, encouraging the horse to move away from the sensation. Contrary to popular opinion, the spur is not used to make your horse go faster, though that can be achieved if the spur is abused. Use the spur strap to correctly fasten the spur to your boot so that it sits in the right place for more effective communication.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Run the end of the spur strap from the inside of the spur through the upper slot on the side of the spur that will sit above the arch of your foot. Run it around the bar between the two slots, and back through the lower slot.

  2. 2

    Pass the strap to the other side of the spur, the side that will rest on the outside of your foot. Allow enough extra space that it will have room to slide beneath the heel of your boot. This can be adjusted later.

  3. 3

    Run the end of the strap from the inside through the lower of the two slots, over the bar between the slots and back through the upper slot.

  4. 4

    Pull on your boot. Position the back of the spur above the heel of your boot, between your heel and ankle.

  5. 5

    Slip the spur strap beneath your foot and allow it to rest just beyond the boot heel on the bottom. This adds security to the strap, preventing it from slipping back.

  6. 6

    Pull up on both sides of the spur strap to tighten. If needed, slide the metal spur arms down on the strap until it fits comfortably and the metal spur is mostly levelled on your boot.

  7. 7

    Buckle the strap over the top of your foot, tightly enough that you can feel it, but not so tight that it is uncomfortable. There will be slight play in the spur shank.

Tips and warnings

  • Spur straps come in nylon and leather, with nylon being the cheaper option. They are great for schooling purposes, while leather is a good option for showing.
  • Never spur your horse to punish it. Use only the amount of pressure needed to get a reaction, then release the pressure to reward your horse. Abuse of spurs puts you and your horse in danger.

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