Horse Dives


(autephex) #1

Apologies if this has been discussed somewhere already… I tried doing a search and didn’t come up with anything, although I wasn’t quite sure what to search for…

This is something I’ve been curious about for a while, something featured in nearly all spaghettis- when a horse “dives” into the ground, many times flipping over and sending the rider off… Anyone know how these are done? Is this something the horses are trained to do? I always figured it was, but many times it doesn’t look like something the horse would willingly do and often looks painful… but maybe that’s just how it looks?

Every time my girlfriend sees one of these she’s convinced they’re hurting the horses- she tends to exaggerate anything involving animals ever since I told her about Canniabl Holocaust… but then I started paying more attention to these scenes and it got me wondering

This kind of thing has since been done many times outside of spaghettis, and obviously it wouldn’t be if it involved hurting the horses, but I haven’t paid any attention to the scenes in newer films so I’m not really sure if they are done the same or not


(Novecento) #2

The database mentions that the UK releases of “Navajo Joe” and “Duck, You Sucker” have been cut due to scenes of cruelty to horses.

Of course cruelty to animals should never be tolerated, but it seems utterly pointless cutting scenes out that were filmed so long ago.

The irony is that apparently in the original heavily cut UK video release of “Duck, You Sucker”, the horse fall scenes were included, while in the so-called ‘uncut’ DVD special edition, they have been removed.


(ENNIOO) #3

The BBFC has had so many changes on policy on what stuff to cut and not it is hard to keep track. You could have a VHS tape from the 80’s for example with horse falls in, but the U.K dvd release of the same film would most likely now be cut.


(Dillinger) #4

Indeed, Death dives a Horse!

Whenever animals, children or women are being hurt, the censors are on alert!

Nobody cares about poor men!


(Silvanito) #5

Yes it looks painful, they make the horses fall flat on their faces so to speak

But isn’t this in earlier Hollywood westerns too?


(scherpschutter) #6

[quote=“Dillinger, post:4, topic:1684”]Indeed, Death dives a Horse!

Whenever animals, children or women are being hurt, the censors are on alert!

Nobody cares about poor men![/quote]

Well, I guess the men know what they’re doing, and what’s more: they can choose not to take part in a movie, or a particular scene that seems too dangerous

I’m not an expert on these things, but I’ve read that a horse was blown up during the making of Heaven’s Gate and that actors (and others) complained about Cimino’s behaviour with animals. The scene with the exploding bridge in The Wild Bunch always gives me the creeps and some Karl May movies show really awful horse tripping. All in all I think spaghettis aren’t that cruel towards horses (some scenes in Navajo Joe look a bit nasty though)

I’m a vegetarian so you might understand that I’m always concerned about how animals are treated (not only in movies of course). On the other hand I don’t want to be over-sensitive in this aspect (I have never asked people I live with - nor anyone else - to become vegetarians either). And, as said, I’m not an expert: I don’t know how these things are exactly done, so I don’t know how dangerous or cruel most of these scenes really are.


(autephex) #7

I was vegan for 2 years and recently fell off the wagon… thinking about going back lately though. I don’t know if you run into this much, but I always thought it was hilarious how people overreact when they find out… I always avoided telling people as much as possible. I have pretty much the same attitude on these/this subject… While I do care, I avoid getting carried away with it and mainly I’m just curious to know, because I don’t know how these things are done


(scherpschutter) #8

Yeah, people tend to overreact

I solved the problem, more or less, by telling others that I don’t want to discuss things, I don’t ask them to explain why they are no vegetarians, so I have nothing to prove or explain or justify or whatever either


(autephex) #9

Yep, that’s exactly how I felt about the subject. At first I would try to explain, but after a couple of times I got tired of repeating myself and I began giving the reply “Lots of reasons.” when people would ask why… usually when said the right way, no further questions would follow… just sucks that you have to come across as a bit of an ass when giving those kinds of responses, but people don’t realize how tiresome that crap gets…

I think if I take up vegetarianism again, I’m going to start telling a story as if I was an alcoholic, only replace the alcohol with meat… how meat made me lie, cheat and hurt everyone close to me and one day I hit rock bottom while eating a cheeseburger and banging my wife’s sister, and I realized I had a problem


(I...I...Idiot) #10

Great thread. Me & my girlfriend kind of had the same question (although she cringes more & I kind of laugh in disbelief). Navajo Joe is probably the worst I’ve seen . Although no mention of The Great Silence. Horses get cold too! I’ve asked elsewhere on the forum, who gets treated worse in sw’s, horses or women? :wink:


(magnus) #11

Nothing gets so much on peoples nerves as being a vegitarian… can´t really understand why, but the questioning never seems to end.
By the way, very interesting thread! Horses do fall and trip a lot in westerns, would be interesting to know the avarage injurecount per spaghetti…
I know a horse got killed from falling down a stair in Tarkovsky´s Andrey Rublyov to the dismay of the artfilm-critics, my response would be in line with Tarkovsky´s that it died for the art (not for hamburgers as most do)…


(Silver) #12

[quote=“autephex, post:1, topic:1684”]Apologies if this has been discussed somewhere already… I tried doing a search and didn’t come up with anything, although I wasn’t quite sure what to search for…

This is something I’ve been curious about for a while, something featured in nearly all spaghettis- when a horse “dives” into the ground, many times flipping over and sending the rider off… Anyone know how these are done? Is this something the horses are trained to do? I always figured it was, but many times it doesn’t look like something the horse would willingly do and often looks painful… but maybe that’s just how it looks?

Every time my girlfriend sees one of these she’s convinced they’re hurting the horses- she tends to exaggerate anything involving animals ever since I told her about Canniabl Holocaust… but then I started paying more attention to these scenes and it got me wondering

This kind of thing has since been done many times outside of spaghettis, and obviously it wouldn’t be if it involved hurting the horses, but I haven’t paid any attention to the scenes in newer films so I’m not really sure if they are done the same or not[/quote]

The methods used for those kinds of stunts did seem pretty cruel. The use of trip wires and “toe taps” was probably the most common. They were usually employed by the rider, (ie the wires were cuffed around the horses ankles and then attached either to the riders legs/stirrups, or in the case of toe taps the rider controlled the wire by hand) and at the given time they would pull the animals’ head to one side and then use the dvice to sweep their front legs out from under them. For those scenes where you see horses go over the edge of a cliff into water, they used tilt shutes (obviously no horse is going to willingly go over the edge unless it was their only means of escape from something!). I believe these days they only use specially trained horses, and take them over the area to accustom them to it, then put soft pads around their hooves, and the fall spot is usually where a hole has been dug and padded out. I heard they also sometimes tape their mouths to prevent biting accidents. They are also trained to deal with loud noises and flares etc, and fall scenes are actually done slowly and then sped up for the film.

In the case of Heaven’s Gate, that horse had explosives actually placed under it’s saddle. It wasn’t killed outright but was so severely injured that it had to be put down.

To be honest i don’t like watching horsefalls…it really makes me cringe to see a bad one, and i don’t believe animals should be forced to things that are contrary to their natures. That said, i don’t see the point in chopping scenes from films that were made years ago…unless it’s apparent that the animal has been seriously injured or killed. I don’t really think it should still being done now, despite all the extra precautions and training but i guess at least it’s not nearly as bad as it used to be…


(korano) #13

I wonder now that if they were so concerned about horse falling in DVD’s, that they cut them out, why wouldn’tcare if a stuntman does an incredably painful stunt. I’m talking specifically of Fabio Testi’s fall in Once Upon a Time in the West. Where he rolls, falls through a roof, and onto the board walk hitting his head and neck.


(Silver) #14

I think that probably has to do with the actors and stuntmen doing what they do voluntarily and getting paid for it…not so for the horses.


(autephex) #15

My guess is it has more to do with large corporations not wanting to be sued by animal lovers. For the most part, the dvd companies most likely to make cuts to films are the very large companies like MGM. I really don’t think the heads of MGM could give a shit about these horses getting hurt 40 years ago, or today even- they’re concerned with what makes them money and what costs them money- and potential law suits aren’t worth the risk


(I...I...Idiot) #16

You mean oats aren’t a form of currency? :stuck_out_tongue:


(Silver) #17

True enough… Was looking at the question from a different angle there.


(Silver) #18

:stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:


(autephex) #19

Your angle is obviously the better reason of the two and is well taken :wink: There’s absolutely no comparison in a stuntman’s injuries to a horse’s or any other animal. The horse is just there because it was put there… But in terms of why these scenes are cut it all just comes down to PR in my eyes


(I...I...Idiot) #20

Would be ironic if they cut out a scene where man AND a horse got hurt during the filming of ‘A Man Called Horse’