does spurs hurt horses

Does Spurs Hurt Horses?

Spurs are tools used by riders to help them apply pressure to a horse’s sides, get their attention, and to keep them going or on the right track. Spurs are most commonly used while riding in the western riding style. The question of whether or not spurs hurt horses is commonly asked by many, and here are the facts you need to know.

Are Spurs Safe To Use On Horses?

Spurs can be a helpful tool for horse riders but it is important to use them correctly and safely. Generally, spurs are used to direct the horse and to apply a little extra pressure. It is not necessary to use them, as most horses understand cues from the other reins (bridle and bit) and rider cues. If the rider prefers to use spurs, it is important to use them with care.

When used improperly, spurs can harm the horse, cause discomfort and even sores. If spurs become sharp or suddenly increase pressure, the horse will feel pain and might become defensive. Spurs should not be used to scold or slap the horse, as this is inhumane and unsafe.

How to Use Spurs Correctly?

When using spurs, it is important to be gentle and understand that every horse is different. Some horses respond to light touches while others need firmer, more consistent support. To start, use the spurs lightly with your heels and adjust the pressure depending on the horse’s response.

Also, the spurs’ tips should be rounded and blunt. Avoid sharp or pointed spurs that can cause damage to the horse’s skin if used incorrectly. It is also important to make sure the leather straps, which attach the spurs to the rider’s boot, are loose and not too tight.


Spurs can be a useful tool for riders, but it is important to be careful and use the right equipment and technique. Spurs should be used effectively, moderately, and with sensitivity in order to avoid discomfort and physical damage to the horse. Proper use of spurs comes with understanding both the horse and the rider’s own technique. Few things are more important than your horse’s safety and wellbeing.

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