The Use Of Calming Supplements For Horses In Movies

You might be surprised at the amount of training, and perhaps calming supplements for horses, that it takes to get a horse to behave on a movie set.

Since the very beginning of motion pictures, horses have been a staple on the silver screen. In fact, the very first “motion picture” considered by many is Eadweard Muybridge’s combined still photos spun in a zoopraxiscope was of a running horse. Ever since then, horses have been used in countless movies.

Calming Supplements For Horses In Movies Controversy

To the audience, it seems effortless whenever we see a character jump on the back of a horse and ride off. However, in order to get that horse to behave and perform for the camera takes an intensive amount of training and preparation, and often times even some of the best calming supplement for horses. Some would argue that the horses are better cared for than the film crew or actors.

On the other hand, there are those who feel that giving calming supplements to horses is simply a way of “drugging” the animal. The fear is that the animals are too stressed on the set, which can be considered cruelty to the horse.

In recent years, there have been some minor protests and boycotts of movies that had used horses. Sheila Johnson of the horse rights group, HELP, which stands for help equines live prosperously, told us that horses that have been used in movies tend to die younger and develop emotional problems more so than their non-acting peers. She was unable to provide us with any conclusive documentation to back up her claims, however.

Wilbur Followsby is the founder of Silver Screen Equine, a movie and TV show barn which has been supplying horses for films and TV for three decades. Followsby is frequently contracted to watch over the horse handling on TV and movie sets, and he assured us that Hollywood’s equines are very well cared for and kept happy and safe at all times. He said that there are very strict laws in place regarding the treatment of animals, and that maintaining a happy and healthy animal crew is his top priority.

best calming supplement for horses in movies

Wilbur Followsby and his crew on a recent set.

Just like humans, each horse has it’s own personality. Before a horse is allowed on set, it is vetted for it’s behavior. If an animal is a bit too skittish, Followsby said that giving them a little calming supplement helps the horse to relax and causes no adverse effects. “For the safety of both the actors and the animals, supplementing the horse is a safe and effective means of getting it to relax just that extra bit that is needed,” Followsby said.

Followsby also told us that they try to also implement holistic options to try to calm the horse, like those seen in this video.

Most horses in movies are going to take part in a rowdy scene or two, often times with gunfire. This action-packed, loud activity can naturally spook even the calmest horse. However, thanks to their extended training, and a little help from the supplements, most horses seem to cope just fine to their role.

The movies sets are also always specially prepared to horses to be on set. For example, if a stampeded scene will be involved, the ground is specially prepared in order to make it easier on the horses legs and joints.

The wranglers and actors are also specially trained on how to treat the horses. There is no beating or whipping allowed. Instead, extra patience is taught and practiced.

Finally, when a movie horse is ready to retire, they are found good forever homes and families that vow to give them a comfortable rest of their life.