Horses were integral to the prosperity of the Roman Empire: being indispensable in a military context, among others. An abundance of evidence survives to give us insight into the equipment used, and how the horses were used in turn. Roman saddles were made of wood and leather: although quite uncomfortable for the horse, the distinctive shape (with four upraised ‘horns’) allowed the rider to grip onto the saddle with his legs. This provided the rider with the required stability, whilst leaving both hands free to operate weaponry. Many Roman military tombstones depict soldiers on horseback, with their swords raised to smite a ‘barbarian’ (a non-Roman).
This spur would have been used in the Roman Empire, attached to the heel of the rider’s boot in warfare.