Horse lovers aren’t always popular companions when watching a film. Most people see a breathtaking fight on horseback: we notice that one extra at the back who isn’t holding the reins correctly.
It’s understandable that among the amazing work on movie productions, the equine accuracy can occasionally get a little skewed. That said, the horse community sees all, and we’ll endure any number of sighs from our friends and loved ones to point it out.
Jen Scouler points out the five biggest equine mistakes of the silver screen…
1. Exodus: Gods and Kings
The 2014 biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings may have been a slog to get through (all two and a half hours of it), but at least it kept equestrians a little occupied with one very big anachronism. The soldiers in this film ride with their feet in stirrups, despite the fact that modern stirrups didn’t exist until 332 AD. For the record, that’s around 1500 years after the setting of the movie, making those soldiers’ footholds amazingly futuristic.
2. Lord of the Rings
Thanks to the invisibility granted by a ring of power, there’s a lot of disappearing characters in the fantasy series Lord of the Rings. However, unless all the horses also got their own evil jewellery, nothing can explain their disappearing act during a battle scene in Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. Check it out in this clip below — warrior Aragorn gives his rousing speech on horseback whilst their army is surrounded and then, suddenly, everyone is on foot. Not a horse to be seen. Let’s hope they made it safely back home.
3. Black Beauty
You know what they say about chestnut mares, but in this case the mistrust might actually be warranted. In the 1994 screen version of Black Beauty, the feisty mare Ginger was frequently portrayed by superstar horse actor, and gelding, High Tower. As much as they’ve tried to shoot the film around any evidence, at times it’s noticeable. Still, credit must be given to High Tower — he really gives an excellent performance, versatile when acting across genders as well as orchards and fields.
4. The Ballad of Lefty Brown
This is a very new movie, as The Ballad of Lefty Brown has had a few UK premieres and is currently available on demand until a cinematic release in the spring. It’s an impressive Western but there’s just one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it equine error. There, in a remote town in 1899 Montana, can be seen two Norwegian Fjord ponies. The problem? Well, according to the Norwegian Fjord horse registry, it wasn’t until 1900 that a New York horse breeder imported a significant number to the USA. In short, the chances of two Fjords pulling a cart over in Montana are fairly slim…
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5. Planet of the Apes
Look, Planet of the Apes is hardly a documentary but if there’s one thing that is going to make the plot completely unbelievable, it’s an equine error. Despite plenty of CGI work, fully-grown mountain gorillas could not physically ride horses, and certainly not the middleweight horses shown in the movies. Gorillas can weigh up to 400lbs and wouldn’t sit lightly, meaning a horse would suffer injury carrying them over a distance. Also, do the filmmakers know that many horses find a plastic bag terrifying? Imagine them faced with a big scary gorilla and honestly, good luck to the gorilla in even getting near the saddle.
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