The Parts of a Cowboy Spur
A basic pair of cowboy spurs are made from metal, usually iron and can be identified using different names or terms for each of the parts of the spur. Although the spur is mostly one solid piece, each part has a name and this information can be useful when attempting to identify spurs or purchase them from online auction.
The largest part of the spur is the Heel Band or Yoke. This is the U shaped piece of the spur that curves around the rear of your boot so that the spur can protrude out from your heel. The Yoke (also sometimes known as a shank) should fit snugly against the boot and then be fastened using either a leather strap which goes across the bridge of the foot or 2 chains, one underneath the boot and one over the top. At the ends of the yoke. there will be a button on each side where the strap can be fastened and tightened.
The part that sticks out at the rear is called the Neck or Shank. This part of the spur is usually straight, but there are spurs known as goose neck spurs where the Neck is more curved. The Neck is used to support the next part of the spur and is primarily for digging into the steed to gain control.
The wheel, disc or star at the end of the Neck is called the Rowel. This circular shaped piece of metal is usually made from iron and is fastened to the neck in the middle, allowing it to rotate. The Rowel is also usually pointed in some way which will add to the riders ability to guide his horse, but without causing too much pain or damage at the same time. The Rowel can be a simple flat disc design or a many pointed star shape depending on the age of the spurs and also where they were made. Spanish and Mexican spurs favor a larger, more flamboyant Rowel, where as a set of English Riding Spurs have no Rowel at all.
There are also spurs known as Jingle Bob spurs where the center hole of the rowel is larger than the pin which causes it to rattle and “jingle” whilst being worn. Also, Jingle Bob Spurs may have a small chain or dangling item which rubs against the spokes of the Rowel to make the jingle noise.