Dressage rider Henry Boswell took three days out of training to star in a new short film about grand prix dressage.

The Equestrian, billed as a “dark psychological drama”, is the story of talented young dressage rider Freddie, his black stallion Gaius and their fight to ride at grand prix level.

British actor Layke Anderson stars as Freddie and Gosford Park’s James Wilby plays his father. Although Layke boasts a stint as a gaucho in Argentina, Henry stood in for him in the riding scenes of the 17min film.

Filming took place at Hartpury from 15-22 August, and director and writer Sybil Mair cast Rachel Struel’s stallion Sandro’s Dancer as Gaius — with a little help from stunt horse Taco.

“It was so different from every day working with horses,” said Henry. “I hadn’t ridden Sandro’s Dancer before but he was gorgeous. I don’t plan to become an actor. I shrivelled up every time the camera came out — put me in a dressage arena any day!”

Sybil said: “It was inspired by the lessons I have been having with Henry. Sandro’s was fantastic. At one point there were seven people and a camera in his stable and he took it all in his stride.”

Rachel watched the filming and Sandro’s even received a fee.

“He’s not in Julia Roberts territory yet, but it should buy a few sets of shoes,” she said.

A trailer will be unveiled at the British National Dressage Championships (15-18 September) and the film will be shown at film festivals next year.

This news story was first published in the current issue of Horse & Hound (1 September 2011)