I don’t often watch TV shows or movies featuring horses because I find so many aren't authentic. I suspect for the same reasons, doctors and nurses don’t often watch medical dramas and law enforcement gets a chuckle out of the labs from CSI shows. Don’t get me wrong. I watched all of CSI Las Vegas. But after factoring in set decoration and lighting for entertainment value, even I asked, “Whose lab is actually lit like that?” and “Would any real crime scene investigator go to a crime scene in a white pant suit?” The point I’m rambling my way towards is this— I get annoyed when film and TV makers get the "Horse Stuff” wrong.
But I’ve just discovered a new TV show that gets the "Horse Stuff" not only right, but really, really, right! And when that happens it means they’ve employed (and are taking the advice of) a great Horse Wrangler. Yep, that’s a real title, just like a Key Grip, or a Best Boy; the horse wrangler is the person on set who handles the horses and other animals. The show I’m talking about is the Netflix original limited series, Godless.
To be honest, I haven't watched the entire series yet, and Godless is quite a bit more gritty, violent and realistic than what I usually watch. However, having binge-watched his way through the last season of Longmire, Mike’s new guilty pleasure is definitely Godless! Some of the scenes are good enough that he’ll pause the action to comment that the horsemanship isn’t just “not awful”—it’s “really real"! Sure, some scenes have been a bit romanticized or condensed for the public consumption—especially how long it takes to lay a horse down—but the horsemanship is closer to the truth than most.
I decided to figure out the source of this authenticity. Who is telling the “horse” side of this story? The answer—Rusty Hendrickson—a man who worked his first movie in the 1980's, climbed his way up through the ranks, and has been the horse wrangler on over 70 movies. If you’ve watched a western, or any movie with a horse in it, chances are you’ve seen his work. If you’re curious about his other movies (like I was), a simple Internet search returns lots of hits; perusing them confirmed what I suspected…Rusty is the real deal!
The official trailer for the series is below!
I'm curious! If you have watched, or are currently watching a movie or TV show that has the “Horse Stuff” so wrong you just need to say something, feel free to make a comment below!
I'll go first! How many of you noticed that the horse in the most r