Treating Equine Actors With Respect
It is important to remember that horses who work in movies are trained actors with a job to do. Just like human actors, we treat them with respect and follow certain rules to ensure their safety and wellbeing. That both humans and horses should be safe is of primary concern and not an afterthought. As we work toward production of EDDIE'S TURN, we are already planning for how to achieve that.
Photo credit: Ashly Covington
There are many rules to follow. One of them is that only qualified professional animal handlers supervise the use of horses and other animals on set. The job of that handler is also to speak on behalf of the animal should a situation occur that requires them to do so.
Before each day, a notification will go out to all humans that have to be on set the next day, a so called "Call Sheet". We would send it to the horses, but their reading skills are limited, so here is only one of many situations when the handler is responsible for making sure that the instructions are clear and the set is ready for the horses to work.
We endeavor to keep a "closed" set when possible when animals are working, which means that only necessary crew and needed human actors will be allowed into the area where the horses are working to help them to concentrate and limit distractions. Even carrots and treats are limited to the handler who is the one to communicate with the horses as needed.
Horses and Healing
When we filmed the trailer for EDDIE'S TURN, we had the opportunity to observe and film one of the clients at equine therapy organization Straightening Reins where Jhoanna got to work with a human and a horse therapist to discover how to set and maintain boundaries.
A single mother who struggled before coming to Straightening Reins on a scholarship, Jhoanna has found equine therapy to be transformative and given her hope for a better future. She is now an avid advocate for equine therapy and its role in schools.
Hear more of Jhoanna's story in our short video about EDDIE'S TURN on our website! We are so grateful to her for letting us share her journey.