I read that Glenn Ford was the best rider in Westerns. What other movie stars excelled as horse riders?

Ira Lee Walker

Peachtree City, Georgia

“Most of the cowboy stars, actors and even extras in the silent film-era were excellent riders, and many were hired just because of that skill,” says Jim Dunham. “Some were even cowpunchers needing work after the cattle drive-era had ended. However, head and shoulders above everyone was Tom Mix. He worked for the Miller Brothers in the 101 Ranch shows before he and his horse Tony became motion picture’s best riding duo. Ben Johnson and Joel McCrea were good riders, and recently both Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones are fine horsemen. Among the worst was James Arness who didn’t like horses and preferred to spend time on his boat.”

Westerns expert James Denniston adds, “The Duke [in his early career], Wild Bill Elliott, Randolph Scott, Slim Pickens, Richard Boone and Jimmy Stewart all rode well. As big as he was, Andy Devine was a good rider. Jack Palance hated horses, couldn’t ride a step, and Shane was his first riding part. Even the cowgirl actors, like Ella Raines, Barbara Stanwyck and Phyllis Thaxter, rode well.”

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