Early spurs looked different from the ones we’re familiar with. They had a single sharp protrusion and were developed by the Romans so they could steer their horses with their legs, while leaving their hands free to fight.
The revolving rowel we see in today’s spurs originated in
When a valet became an esquire or an esquire was knighted, he was fitted with new spurs during a special ceremony. Thus came the expression "earned his spurs." (Esquires' spurs were silver and those of a page were tinned.)
In the rare case of disgrace, a knight’s spurs were chopped off in a public ceremony with the cook's cleaver.
Churchmen were not allowed to wear spurs. But they had the last laugh because knights who failed to remove their spurs before entering church had to pay a fine to the choir boys in order to regain them. LOL.
There was even a "battle of the spurs" in 1302—named as such because the victors collected 700 pairs of gilded spurs as trophies.
In the United States, spurs were worn by anybody who wanted them. Early cavalry officers, however, were required to wear boots and spurs. They had a duty version, a dress version that was lighter, and an extremely light dance spur for social functions.
I can’t figure out what it is about spurs that have such appeal. Maybe just because they’re part of the cowboy’s persona? What do you think? Do you know of anyone who collects them?