I’m sure you understand that actors and actresses go through a lot of training and preparation before they can feature in a film. But have you ever wondered what kind of preparations equine members of a movie cast go through in readiness for an on-camera role? Or did you think they don’t need to train how to perform their movie roles just because they’re “animal actors”? Certainly, they’ve to take some lessons in order to “know what to do”. Well, let's take a closer look at some of the most important steps they are taken through:
1.) Vetting for disposition
Loud noises, flashing lights, gunshots, and frantic-looking people. Certainly, these aren’t scene elements that a skittish horse can withstand. An equine “actor” must, therefore, be trained to endure these and more, while its handler must also learn what to do on a movie set and not to overwork or “over-scare” the horse.
2.) Acclimation to being on a film set
Before horses can be used in a film scene, riders will slowly drive them around the set with the film’s flood lights and production pieces already in place so that they get used to the layout and establish that nothing present is actually going to be a threat. Hopefully, animals will ideally get acclimated to tenor of a movie set and become (astonishingly) docile.
3.) Training for special roles
Typically, the majority of equine members of a movie cast will be trained for general roles in an on-camera appearance. However, some horses have to be trained for special performances. That horse that you see jumping or falling down a hill after being “killed” on screen or knocked down has been specially trained to do that in a way they won’t be hurt or harm their rider.
Most of the time, it’s very easy to forget or be oblivious to the fact that equine actors on screen need as much training as human actors and actresses. The next time you see that horse galloping across your screen, you just might start to appreciate the effort put into their contribution.
Image credit: “War Horse” movie, DreamWorks production