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6 ways in which horsey scenes in films can annoy us

It’s movie night, and your other half brightly announces that he’s found a film you’ll enjoy because “it’s got horses in it”. Twenty minutes into the action, you’re standing on the sofa and shouting: “He’s just ridden out on a chestnut gelding and come back into shot on a mare! Get a grip here, continuity people!” Your other half quietly changes over to a sci-fi film, and never tries to be proactive again.

Other things Hollywood does specifically to annoy us include…

1. Gratuitous rearing, especially in silhouette against the skyline. Dramatic, but not to be encouraged in real life.

2. Tack that doesn’t fit the period – ‘Victorian’ hunters wearing Dutch gags or Grackle nosebands, anyone? And why are those supposedly wild ponies in the background all trimmed and shod?

3. Horses who aren’t right for the part, such as Irish Drafts playing racehorses, geldings playing stallions or ANY breed playing an Arab that isn’t actually…..you know……an Arab.

4. Actors who really can’t ride. We know this is a difficult one, but surely it can’t be unreasonable to expect them to at least hold the reins properly? The most annoying bit is when the first shot shows the actor slumped on their horse with their reins in bunches, and the second shot shows them supposedly clearing a five-bar gate. “Gosh, it must be quite easy if (insert name of famous actor) can do it!” says your other half, impressed. “That’s clearly a stunt rider!” you cry from your position on top of the sofa, while he quietly picks up the remote control again…

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5. Random horse noises. Yup, all that ‘horse talk’ has to be edited into the film afterwards – and the reason for that is that horses don’t just whinny, nicker or neigh randomly in real life, Hollywood! We can only imagine that someone off camera is waving a big bucket of feed around…

6. Unrealistic storylines. You know the sort of thing – where the young teenage heroine acquires a wild horse and manages to break, school and compete him without any adult help or facilities. Sometimes she manages the work of several years in a couple of weeks, in time for a big competition which she wins effortlessly. Obviously the rest of us have been putting far too much effort into this horse business all along…

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