| Spurs were attached to a soldier's boots, pointing backward from the heels. The spurs would be jabbed into the tough hide of a horse in order to make it go faster. That, of course, is the origin of the verb spur, meaning to induce increased or sudden action. Spurs would be worn most commonly by a cavalry soldier, but might also be worn by an officer of infantry or artillery if he rode a horse.
The spurs exhibited here were probably made of iron (as evidenced by the areas of rust) and might have been cast. Some spurs cast in silver or bronze are known to have been worn by high ranking officers. Strips of leather, or cloth ribbon, would have been attached to the buckle-shaped ends of the spur. It would have been pulled tight aginst the backside of the boot heel, and then the strips would have been tied together. If a buckle were attached to the two strips, they would simply be buckled together to hold the spur tight against the boot heel. Notice how the toothed wheel on the opposite end is positioned horizontal to the ground. When attached to the soldier's boot, the toothed wheel would have been in the right position to easily be jabbed into the horse's hide without having to bend or twist the foot much. It should be noted that the teeth on the wheel are not very sharp, nor very long; it was certainly not the intention of the soldier to cause lasting harm to the horse. He simply intended to spur the horse into moving faster.