For the cowboys and cowgirls who carry on the tradition


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     Inside the chute>   Keep your toes pointed straight forward (keep your spurs out of the horse).  You can lift your foot slightly to slide your foot in the stirrups.  Once your boots are in your stirrups settle your feet alongside the horse, toes pointed straight forward and your lower leg from knee to ankle straight down.

     When the gate opens>  Wait untill the horse commits (you don't want the horse rearing or bucking in the chute) as soon as you feel the horse's shoulders turn (if you wait till the horse's front feet are out of the chute and on the ground you didn't "mark him out" = disqualified), straighten your legs out and snap your toes to the outside and SET your spurs (heels) high in the neck (above the shoulders) and hang on tight with your spurs.

(photo courtesy of     

After the mark out>  After the first hop out of the chute you need to spur in time with the horse.  Most riders need a few seconds to get in time (bucking rhythm).  After the mark out drag your spurs through the natural arc and try to hold your butt in the saddle by pulling it down and forward with your heels at the cantle (It'll look like your kneeling and sitting on your heels with your toes pointed to the outsides).   (Sam Swan hanging in there utnil he gets his timing)

(photo courtesy of

When you do get in time with the horse>  the spurring will begin slightly before the front hooves touch the ground.  Feet will swing forward toes snap out right before setting the spurs high in the neck.  When the horse bucks drag the spurs back all the way to the cantle and hold your but down and forward in the saddle with grip (spurs in the horse) and pull (squeezing your heels to your butt).  Toes should be pointed outward and slightly down (away from your knees) to keep some pressure in the stirrups. 

If you find you are losing your stirrups while you ride it's probably because your toes aren't pointed out and your noot keeping pressure in the stirrups.  In addition, if your getting blown out of the saddle when the horse is bucking, you can't keep pressure in the stirrups either = one will probably pop off if you are managing to stay on the horses back.