The Villain

It is cold and snowing out today. Not a bad snow, the wind isn’t howling. Not here behind the windbreak at least. There is a fair bit of it though, we should get the five to seven inches predicted. The result of all this though is that we are mostly stuck inside. We went out earlier and fed chickens, checked the horses, and pulled the kids around behind the four wheeler in their sled. Once they got cold and wet it was back inside. We’ve taken advantage of the cold, and the naps, to watch a bit of TV.

After watching Blazing Saddles, again, the other day other western parodies were brought up. So today we watched oneĀ  one I had never seen. It’s the same age as I am! It was good, silly, goofy, and staring some great trick horses!! As we sat down to watch it my encyclopedia of a husband informed me that the horse was played by eight different horses so I would want to be watching for differences. Of course he was right, it made it even more interesting to me Looking for the differences.

I noticed right away that one horse had an unusual whorl on the left side of his neck and a long feathered one on his forehead. From then on I was looking closely for those whorls, so closely in fact that it took me an embarrassingly long time to notice the biggest tell between the two main horses used. They had completely different bits on! One was a simple curb with very plain, flat, squared off shanks. The other had round shanks with a ring at the mouth piece. I started checking out the saddle and other big things. If I missed one that big, there had to be others.

The reason any of this is relevant is the skill of the trick horse who played most of the scenes. It may have been why I missed the bit for so long. The tricks were excellent, performed smoothly and proficiently by the horse. He was even listed in the credits, a black Thoroughbred named Ott. Apparently because he was famous in his own right. He was in a whole list of movies and TV shown through the seventies. He has his own page on IMDB!

I was enthralled by the tricks. It’s more fun to watch knowing how they are done, watching for a cue or to see where the cue is coming from. At first I was amazed at all the tricks one horse knew, then I began to realize that there were two horses, although one didn’t get credit, (obviously the other six didn’t either, but I’m assuming they had pretty little parts like the time the horse in the movie needed to buck very well) and they each knew different tricks. Put together they had an impressive array. I did enjoy thinking that Rusty could do many of them, I thought perhaps he could do the movie horse thing. Then I though of the difference between knowing how to do a trick and being able to do it smoothly and on time with all the people and distraction of a movie set. Those horses were both incredible.

There was lots of nodding, smiling, coming when called, neighing, backing, carrying things, and sitting. It became possible to predict when sitting was coming up because a random pile of dirt would appear. It gave me an idea on teaching sitting besides using bales of hay. I didn’t figure out the bit thing soon enough in the movie to be able to see exactly which horse was doing which tricks. I may have to go back and watch it again so I can figure that out. If you ever have the chance to watch The Villain Keep an eye out for those wonderful trick horses!

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