Pair of Tournament Rowel Spurs
- ca. 1500
- Southern German or Austrian
- Iron alloy, copper alloy, tin
- L. 12 1/8 in. (30.78 cm); L. of neck, 7 1/2 in. (19.05 cm); spread of branches, 3 1/4 in. (8.26 cm); Diam. of rowel, 2 1/4 in. (5.72 cm); Wt. of a, 14 oz. (396.89 g); Wt. of b, 16 oz. (453.59 g)
- Equestrian Equipment-Spurs
- Credit Line:
- Gift of William H. Riggs, 1913
- Accession Number:
- 14.25.1721a, b
Around 1400, the length of the rowel spurs’ necks started to increase in western Europe, some examples extending even as long as the rider’s foot in the 15th century. At this period, the elevated war saddles and the very specific riding style, with long stirrup leathers and legs extended forward, had the consequence of taking away the rider’s feet from the horse’s flank. Thus, these long necks gave them easier access without having to disturb the rider’s position too much. On this pair the exceptional curve of the long necks, directing the rowels to the inside, would have helped the rider to reach his horse.
As the riding position changed at war in the first decades of the 16th century, such long necks were not needed anymore. However, they were kept in use for jousting, for which the medieval riding style survived a bit longer.