Horse Play

Teaching Hollywood About Horsemanship, One Bad Movie at a Time

©Vancouver Film School/Flickr CC by 2.0

My husband hates watching TV with me if the program is something I am deeply involved in.

Greys Anatomy? I am usually yelling at Shonda Rhimes for killing off another beloved character. Razorbacks football? I pretty much coach from the couch and I KNOW Bielema can hear me, I just know it.

But the worst culprit of all my television rage is horse movies.

I don’t know why I keep torturing myself (or my husband, for that matter) but every time a horse movie pops up in my suggested feed on Netflix, I turn it on only to find myself pulling out my hair strand by strand in the first 10 minutes.

Let me just break it down for you. Every horse movie EVER goes something along the lines like this:

Girl gets in trouble/shipped off to a distant relative/loses a parent or her beloved horse. Girl meets wild, crazy, untouchable horse. But, wait! Girl is the only one that can touch this horse. Girl begins working with the horse, and I use the term “working” loosely because after watching some of these low-budget actresses “ride” on these movies I am pretty sure if I were that horse I would be wild, crazy, and untouchable too.

Girl and horse form a bond and enter into a competition where there is a sassy, spoiled girl who doesn’t even touch, love, or look at her horse. Girl beats competition and runs away into the sunset on horse who has now been gifted to her because she is the only one who can ever love that horse.

I would love to see some realistic movies about the equestrian industry. For example, The Day you Forgot to Lunge Me has instant classic all over it.

I show up to the barn on the first day of fall weather in Missouri, tack up quickly because I am running a few minutes late, and get on my OTTB, Joey, who tried to warn me by looking at me like an absolute fruit loop out of the corner of his eyes. But [spoiler] I don’t get the hint. Get on, trot around, all is well until…it’s time to canter with four other horses in the arena!

Five laps of pure galloping excitement and several rounds of me screaming at my coach, “Where are the emergency brakes on this thing?!” later and I’ve terrified myself and everyone in the arena. Joey, naturally, is pleased with himself. He thought he won the race between himself and the others.

Or how about, Betrayal: A Pony Story.

What the heck is wrong with all of these ponies and why do we put small children on them? I can’t even recall how many times I have watched the cutest pony plod along like it didn’t have a care in the world and then RAWRRRR! They go ballistic because…well….no one is really sure why they lost their mind, honestly.

But hey, props to those pony riders that stick with it. I’m a sack of potatoes up there and I would’ve been on the ground in 2.0 seconds.

Ohhh, that brings me to a good one, True Life Story: The Hospital Laughs When They See Me Limp In.

I have more horse-related injuries than I care to count and, the sad part is, most of them are from the ground. An assortment of broken toes duct taped together as I shove my tall boot on, enough concussions that the military would never let me enlist, and one fractured coccyx that is still tender three years later—my chart at the doctors office probably needs its own cabinet for safe keeping.

I could go on and on and on (No Dressage Is Not Fancy Horse Dancing, Horse from Hell, My Horse Is Better at his Job Than I Am). Seriously, why can’t there be a television show or movie that really portrays the struggles of a horse going lame, or how broke adult amateurs are, or how tough it is to go out there a pull off a winning round with a horse who is terrified of every fence?

I would love once just to see an accurate depiction of what we do out there somewhere so that every time I tell someone I compete, they don’t say, “Oh which racetrack do you race at?”

Because not all horses are racehorses…except…mine was.


Meagan SmithAbout the Author

Meagan DeLisle is a young adult amateur returning to the saddle after an unexpected two-year hiatus. Combining both her passion for horses and her love of words, Meagan often writes about the comedy that ensues while working with her green OTTB Joey and training her horse-show husband.

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