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The Point of Spurs

By Jennifer Nice

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Spurs come in a variety of types and styles. How mild or severe they are depends on the type of rowel, which is the wheel on the end of the shank. Here is how spurs rank, from one to five, with one being the mildest and five the most severe.

One: Bumper spurs. These types of spurs are popular among barrel racers. Rather than having a shank and rowel, they have a smooth or ridged bar that wraps around the back of the boot heel. They allow the rider to utilize heel pressure without having the traditional shank and rowel.

Two: Spurs that have a smooth, round point or ball at the end of the shank, instead of a rowel.

Three: Spurs with a clover-leaf or rosebud rowel. The tips of the rowel are flat and smooth, rather than pointed.

Four: Spurs with pointed rowels: Available with varying numbers of points, typically from six to 12. The sharper the points, the more severe the rowel.

Five: Any spurs with larger rowels that have multiple, sharp points are considered severe. Rowels with names like “rock grinders” are not recommended for any rider.

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