Q: Western spurs look so different. Do they hurt the horse more than conventional spurs and how are they used?
A: Western spurs may look different but they are designed not to lock against the horse but to rather move and roll when applied. When using Western rowel spurs, you squeeze the horse, allowing the rowel to move against their side. This actually makes them softer against the horse than conventional English ball spurs. The spurs also make a noise, which on top of sounding cool, also gives the horse an additional reminder to listen to the leg aids.
Answered by Sarah-Jane McCrindle and Neil Dougall (Reining and Western Performance Horse Judges)