I would go with smooth rowel spurs. Dummy spurs poke into the same spot and *can* cause bruising and soreness, however when used properly rowels 'roll' up the horses side, much gentler in my opinion. I use spurs similar to these and love them.
No problems. My horse had been abused with spurs previously, and he is adjusting to these very well, which is as much proof as I need of their gentleness *when used properly*. I do as above, and only use spurs occasionally, when showing or campdrafting. For trails and jumping/PC I don't use them, and it hasn't affected him. He is much lighter off my leg with them on.
In my opinion moving rowels are much more gentle than any 'stationary' spur when used correctly, as they roll up the horses side instead of poking in.
They don't move but they have a larger surface area so think of the rowels as being poked by a tooth pick and the ball as being poked by a finger. The one with the larger surface area is going to hurt less.
So which ones do I go for? I'm sure the guy who I got my horse from used a rowel type and a friend of mine who is into competitive dressage uses the poke type.
I think softer the better for him and me. Does it come down to personal preference?? I might go in the shop and experiment with both on my own skin.
Any more inputs?