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View Full Version : For Seabiscuit fans--Hot to Trot article from the NY Post


apoet29
Jul 23rd, 2003, 06:40 PM
HOT TO TROT

By MEGAN LEHMANN--NY Post

July 23, 2003 -- A horse is a horse of course, of course, but the feisty little red bay star of "Seabiscuit" was something else altogether - and it took a stable of ponies to portray him.

Eight different Thoroughbreds were required to bring to the screen the many moods and behaviors of the knock-kneed upstart who defied the odds to become an inspirational hero to Depression-era America.

The resulting performance manages to upstage the rest of the cast, including Tobey Maguire, who was paid $12 million for the role.

While the fastest five were used for the racing scenes - a fleet-footed charger called I Too Step Two became the go-to race horse - the others specialized in portraying Seabiscuit's various quirks.

"We taught those behaviors," the movie's "horse wrangler," Rusty Hendrickson, told The Post. "They're not acting, they're more reacting - reacting to stimulus off-camera or to what a trainer is doing."

In the movie, which opens Friday, Seabiscuit is introduced as a lazy, obstinate horse that's been mistreated and, having lost his first 17 races, is considered good for nothing.

He's sold for a pittance to self-made millionaire Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) who - along with the trainer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) and a brawling, half-blind jockey named Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire) - helps Seabiscuit realize his full potential.

One of the most affecting aspects of this stirringly authentic horse-racing movie - based on Laura Hillenbrand's runaway best-seller, "Seabiscuit: An American Legend" - is the personality Seabiscuit displays.

Whether he's basking in the sun like a cat or looking genuinely pleased to see Red after a long absence, he's one of the more fully realized characters of the summer movie season.

Hendrickson was responsible for casting the four-legged actors - one was picked for his tendency to rear and buck, for example, while another was chosen for his lethargy.

"We were lucky that Seabiscuit was a pretty average-looking horse," says Hendrickson, a 49-year-old Montana rancher who was also head wrangler on "Dances With Wolves," "Wyatt Earp" and "All the Pretty Horses."

Hendrickson spent last spring scouring the country for horses that fit the bill: They had to be no more than 15 hands high and look similar, although some of them eventually required makeup to disguise facial differences.

The horse that gets the most on-screen time as Seabiscuit is a retired runner named Fighting Furrari, who Hendrickson found in Ohio.

Fighting Furrari is the horse moviegoers see in the winner's circle and the one Red Pollard recuperates with after both get injured.

"He was more photogenic than the others, more interesting to look at," Hendrickson says.

"By no means was he the greatest race horse of the bunch, but he was good to handle; he's sweet-natured and likes people.

"And he was one of the horses we really trusted with Tobey - he rode Fighting Furrari quite a bit, even on the race track at race speed."

A total of 45 horses were needed for the movie - plus one mechanical horse Maguire rode in a number of race scenes.

Four horses portrayed War Admiral, the enormous Triple Crown winner who was Seabiscuit's No. 1 foe.

The risk of working with animals who don't follow a script was highlighted during the filming of the centerpiece match race between Seabiscuit and War Admiral.

War Admiral was supposed to lose the race, but Cobra Flight, the horse chosen to play him in that scene, insisted on winning - and the scene had to be shot three times.

Once filming wrapped, only one returned to racing, while others were sold or had homes found for them. The horse that plays Pumpkin, Seabiscuit's palomino buddy, went home with Hendrickson.

"There were a lot of nice horses," he says, "but there was just something I liked about him."

lakeway11
Jul 23rd, 2003, 07:45 PM
:bounce:

no bigger Seabiscuit fan than me :D

lakeway11
Jul 23rd, 2003, 07:48 PM
"We were lucky that Seabiscuit was a pretty average-looking horse," says Hendrickson, a 49-year-old Montana rancher who was also head wrangler on "Dances With Wolves," "Wyatt Earp" and "All the Pretty Horses."

that is true...just think if they had to find a horse as handsome as Secretariat or Cigar :)

goldenlox
Jul 23rd, 2003, 07:54 PM
I really don't know the story of the horse.
But the author's story is amazing. She can barely get out of bed. She often is too weak to type. Her story should be her next book.

lakeway11
Jul 23rd, 2003, 07:59 PM
yes, her story is quite something...an athletic girl being struck down at age 19 from seemingly food poisoning and basically being bed-ridden since :sad:

i salute her for bringing to the world this most interesting story...do people know that match race with War Admiral drew over 40 million viewers at that time!!!...one of the most watched sporting events ever

decemberlove
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:01 PM
animal abuse supporters!

lakeway11
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:05 PM
u have a warped mind d-love if u think that

decemberlove
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:08 PM
oh here we go again, someone that doesnt know me telling me i have a warped mind. are you gonna blame it on the drugs again?

King Satan
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:14 PM
Horses are to be eaten, not raced on a track with midget jockies on top of them!

decemberlove
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:15 PM
joe shut the fuck up before i cook you and feed you to my dog!

King Satan
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:17 PM
joe shut the fuck up before i cook you and feed you to my dog!
dogs are not worthy of such a great meal! Hmph!

lakeway11
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:20 PM
nothing to do with you...it goes for anyone who knows nothing about the sport of horse racing having such distorted opinions...abuse goes on in this sport just as such does in every facet of life...and i suppose the thousands and upon thousands that send flowers and gifts to Secretariat each year are horse haters...and the thousands that cried silly upon of hearing of his death have no feelings whatsoever about the thoroughbred...get some perspective

King Satan
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:22 PM
hey guys, how come they don't let midgets become jockies? :confused:

lakeway11
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:22 PM
Horses are to be eaten, not raced on a track with midget jockies on top of them!

well Joe in Japan they do both...except the thoroughbreds are bred to run while other type breeds are bred for food (yuk:eek: )

King Satan
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:23 PM
well Joe in Japan they do both...except the thoroughbreds are bred to run while other type breeds are bred for food (yuk:eek: )
yummy! :lick:

lol

lakeway11
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:24 PM
hey guys, how come they don't let midgets become jockies? :confused:

simple, it takes some strength to handle a 1000 pound animal cruising at 35 mph :worship:

King Satan
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:30 PM
simple, it takes some strength to handle a 1000 pound animal cruising at 35 mph :worship:
can't they just strap them in? :confused: lol

I think all midgets should be allowed to be jockies, it would make the sport more entertaining lol

King Satan
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:30 PM
oh btw, midgets are actually super strong. i had a boxing match with one (no kidding)

tazban1
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:35 PM
can't they just strap them in? :confused: lol

I think all midgets should be allowed to be jockies, it would make the sport more entertaining lol

Would a midget's legs be long enough? Is the pc term still dwarf - it's hard to keep these things straight they change so much. Anyways, if you can find one with legs long enough it you'd think they'd want them considering they'd theoretically be lighter.

lakeway11
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:38 PM
another great horse racing story is that of the filly Ruffian--one of fastest racehorses ever...Jane Schwartz wrote a book about her title "Ruffian: Burning From The Start"...she notes about the human reaction to such great racehorses and why horses such as her & Seabiscuit bring so much a following...In a NY Times article during the release of her book she wrote:

"What that space is varies from person to person, but in general I think the thoroughbred fulfills a hunger for something grand and noble in our lives.

We respond almost instinctively to their beauty. They are majestic animals, massive yet elegant, a combination of power and wild grace. We respond to them as athletes, swift and hard-muscled, driving and determined, but uniquely vulnerable in the sporting world because, as animals, they are totally dependent on us for every aspect of their care and development.

We respond most strongly to the quality in them that we call "heart." Certain horses always battle back, dig in, and somehow find reserves of sheer desire to propel them past the finish. Any trainer will tell you that the best ones know exactly what they're doing: they want to win. We admire such heroic efforts. Too often in our everyday lives, we settle for half, content just to get by. These thoroughbreds remind us of the exhilaration that comes from giving everything, from pushing ourselves to the limit.

This is why we celebrate great horses: this brief intensity, this courage, when horse and rider put everything on the line and by so doing, enlarge our sense of possibility. We race vicariously on their backs, so whether we bet on them or not the outcome matters.

But no outcome is ever guaranteed. Once the starting gates open, the routine and the unexpected often collide. The result can be Secretariat's breathtaking 31-length victory in the 1973 Belmont Stakes or the horror of Go for Wand lurching helplessly toward the stands. Greatness and tragedy are two sides of the same coin, for horses as well as human beings.

Frank Whiteley, who trained the extraordinary Ruffian, once told me that even though he knew early on that Ruffian was very fast, he could never tell for sure if any horse was really good until it had been tested in a race. I asked him why that was. "Because you can't see inside them," he explained. "You can't see how big their heart is."

Sometimes, when we do see, it leaves us dazed and proud to know that something so glorious still exists in the world.

Sometimes, it makes our own -- smaller -- hearts break."

amen

decemberlove
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:47 PM
nothing to do with you...it goes for anyone who knows nothing about the sport of horse racing having such distorted opinions...abuse goes on in this sport just as such does in every facet of life...and i suppose the thousands and upon thousands that send flowers and gifts to Secretariat each year are horse haters...and the thousands that cried silly upon of hearing of his death have no feelings whatsoever about the thoroughbred...get some perspective

and how do you know i dont know anything about the sport? just cos i disagree with your opinion? maybe ive had some experience first hand how the treat the animals afterwards [horses and greyhounds]. and maybe ive volunteered my time with these injured creatures.

"abuse goes on ... in every facet of life"
so basically you support this abuse cos you can make money from it? im sure theres tons of people that cared for Secretariat, but theres twice as many that cared only for selfish reasons.

i dont see the need to race horses, greyhounds, or kill bulls for entertainment. theres plenty of other sports out there to waste your precious money on. like boxing, where people willing beat the shit out of each other.

decemberlove
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:51 PM
oh btw, midgets are actually super strong. i had a boxing match with one (no kidding)

we have a brick midget house a few miles away in another neighborhood. i bet stupid dirty LA doesnt have something like that :p

goldenlox
Jul 23rd, 2003, 08:56 PM
I've read about fires at racetracks. The horses are trapped in their stalls. It gets pretty gruesome.
I don't follow horseracing but in the depression, they must have eaten the slower horses.