Why do Western actors rarely wear spurs on screen?
Charles “Spade” Phillips
Mostly because of animal welfare concerns. Audiences don’t want the horses hurt. Leaving out spurs may be excessive, since spurs aren’t intended to cause pain or injury. Even the actors who do wear spurs often use rubber duplicates for riding scenes or stunts. Any good cowboy will tell you spurs are not there to hurt the animal; a slight touch is usually enough to get the horse to respond.
Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and vice president of the Wild West History Association. . His latest book is Arizona’s Outlaws and Lawmen; History Press, 2015. If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at email@example.com