Size DOES matter...at least in this case.

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Barbwire, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. Barbwire

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    A few years ago, my horse had his first acting gig. He was to play the part of George Washington's horse in a documentary about Benedict Arnold called "An American General".

    I had very little knowledge about what to expect when we got to the place where we were shooting. All I knew is they needed a grey horse for an actor to ride.

    When I got to the site, I was shocked to see that it was taking place directly across a busy two lane road, with train tracks behind that and a 4 lane highway behind that. I 'bout shit a brick when they told me where I had to part my rig but I managed to shimmy into a slot and unloaded my horse.

    Mom babysat my horse while I scouted out the lady that was in charge. Once I found her and was on the books, I asked her where "George" was and she said he was in makeup and would be for a while.

    I went back to the trailer and unloaded my horse and gave the rope to mom so he could graze while I located the woman that was bringing an English saddle and pad for my horse to use. (the kind of tack I own doesn't exactly scream Revolutionary War.)

    I found the woman unloading one of the blackest tallest horses I'd ever seen out of a horse trailer big enough to hold an elephant. I introduced myself and she told me where the saddle was. I grabbed the stuff, thanked her and went back to the trailer to tack up my horse.

    As I was approaching my rig, I noticed someone had tied a white rope to the driver's side mirror on my truck. The rope ran from my mirror to a truck around and trailer and then finally back again to my horse trailer.

    Standing in the middle of this mess of rope was a black mare the same size as my horse. It was my friend's horse and she was there to be in the movie as well. I found my friend signing in and told her to get the damned ropes off my truck. As we walked back to my rig, I heard a train coming and started to walk a whole lot faster.

    We got to the horses just as the train blew by them. My horse threw his head up but didn't drag my mom around, THANK GOD but, my friend's horse started galloping in tiny circles in her rope pen tearing up the turf as she went. People were going apeshit because we were parked at a National historic site and the horse was ruining the grounds.

    We calmed the horses, tacked up and then rode around the "war encampment", letting our horses get used to all of the activity, which included a fog machine, a few dozen canvas tents flapping in the breeze and dozens of actors with costumes on including weapons, sitting around drinking coffee.

    My horse was very cool about everything except the "smoke" coming out of all the camp fires but he soon settled down and even that didn't bother him. My friend's mare, on the other hand, was dancing sideways and eyeballing everything like it was going to kill her. She was coated in a thick foamy sweat and shaking all over.

    We were called to our places and the actors came out. I about fell over when I saw how tall George was standing next to my horse as he patted him and asked me exactly how does one mount a horse.

    Once again, you could have knocked me over with a feather. Not only was this guy about a foot too tall to be riding my horse, he had never ridden a horse before!

    I held my horse as still as I could and gave George step by step instuctions on how to mount while he clumsily clamoured onto his back. He sat up for a second, a broad smile on his face and that is when my horse started to spin like a mad man running circles around me.

    I yelled at George to step off, got my horse under control and then started the whole process again. After repeated mountings, spinnings and bailing out of dead presidents, I realized that George's scabbord was stabbing my horse in the ribs. I also realized that George was one brave mofo for getting on and off my crazy horse so willingly. (Maybe he was just unaware of the danger he was in, I dunno.)

    Anyhow, about the time we take George's scabbord off I heard a commotion and notice Benedict Arnold flying through the air and landing with a thud a few feet from my friend's soaking wet and terrified mare. She started to make a run for the road but my friend grabbed her before she hit pavement.

    Someone said something to her and she took her horse back to the trailers.
    The director called for the extra horse to be brought in as Benny got his pride & costume readjusted.

    While we waited, George chatted with my mom and I about horses, history and day jobs. George was just telling us about his work when he stopped short and said,

    "Wow, that's a big horse!"

    In struts the giant black horse whose owner I'd borrowed the tack from earlier in the day. Amazingly enough, Benedict jumped right on him and started cantering him around, letting everyone know that he was a good rider on a magnificent steed.

    Finally, it was time to start filming and we all got on our marks. The director took one look through a camera and had us move much further away from the black horse. We had to move a few more times but finally, everything was straight.

    We filmed the scene and took a break. I asked one of the assistants why I had to keep moving my horse. (I never did let go of him throughout the filming because I knew George would be in the dirt if I did.) He told it was because my horse was so short that Benedict towered over George and they couldn't keep them both in frame properly.

    After break, I was told that they wouldn't be needing my horse anymore and I could go home. Before I left, I had George mount up again and called Benedict over on his steed to get a couple of pics.

    Here's one of them.....

    [​IMG]


    Sadly, the documentary was never run. It was promoted for a while on a PBS station but then it just disappeared. Totally bummed me out. At least I have some fun memories from that day.
     

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  2. igor

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    What a neat story BW!
     
  3. RideNaked2

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    Cool story! That sounds like it was fun as well as stressful...:)
     
  4. RideNaked2

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    Got it for you Barb.
     
  5. Barbwire

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    Thanks, love. :)

    Yeah, it was quite the stressful day but, at the end of it, I had some great stories to tell and $100 in my pocket. Plus, my horse or so I thought at the time, was well on his way to stardom. :eyes
     
  6. RideNaked2

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    You are most welcome! Sounds stressful but fun...and I wish your horse would've made stardom with many more than $100 in your pockets...just sharin' and wishin' with ya. :eyes