By now, I'm pretty sure every horse person in America has heard about the Steven Spielberg movie, War Horse, coming out later this month. On Thursday, I was able to go to an advance screening. I cried. A lot. It was awesome. Go see it.
So, while I'm tremendously grateful for the free advance screening passes - I must say that whoever came up with the brilliant idea to invite a bunch of horse people into a downtown Washington DC movie theatre - not brilliant. There is no way I can possibly put into words the experience. Gave my spare ticket to a horse friend, also coming from city job, so we were clean and presentable. We chatted with some great ladies waiting in line. We took our seats. All good. Until the seat next to me was selected by a woman who proceeded to spray me down with "herbal germicide." Now you think I'm kidding, and I thought she was kidding, until she sprayed me down for the 3rd time. I realized this was no joke. She assured me it was "legal" - according to the ATF or the theatre, I'm not sure which. I struggled to remember my work's policy on random drug testing!! Shit. Funny how she felt compelled to spray me down - over and over again - but not her nasty straight-from-the-barn Ariat paddock boots. Horse people.
Now, I already covered that the movie was pretty fantastic. I seriously started crying within the first 5 minutes. You know, the first time the horse and boy met. I'm that easy. As horse movies go, it was wonderful to enjoy a film and not spend the entire time critiquing it over this that and the other thing a horse would NEVER do. But, I have 3 little things that only crazy horse people would notice. Let me see if I can poison you enough to make you a little crazy watching the movie!
1. Wow, what a clean shaven nose you have... always... even after years of war! (Sort of like Lawrence of Arabia with his perfect hair during his entire trek across the desert!)
2. The ventriloquist nose blower. That amazing Hollywood horse could blow his nose without even a flutter of a nostril! Good trick! I definitely need to teach that one to Katchi!
3. Another fun audio trick mis-matched the sound of the hoof-steps to the movement of the horse. As I think about it, I can imagine this would be pretty hard for Hollywood audio folks to do, but it sure stuck out to me! Luckily, I think it only happened a few times, so I didn't have to freak out and run out of the theatre screaming or anything!
On principle, I really hate when people over-relate their own lives to movies. But, I have to say that War Horse, aside from being a great story and tremendous movie, renewed my love for the heart of eventing. While we've all heard how eventing has its roots in the military cavalry - to test the precision, training, and bravery of a cavalry officer and his mount. I guess I've imagined I knew, but never really knew the full spectrum of what that meant. Watching the detail of the war horses attack, I have a new appreciation for eventing and our amazing event horses and riders...
Down into a trench, across, and back up the other side (can you say Sunken Road?)
Over a berm, leap over a narrow trench, out over another berm (can you say Coffin?)
Over a tent, and another and another (bounce, one stride, bounce...)
Huge leaps, quick turns, skinnies... all while galloping at top speed under perfect control.
The bravery, honestly, and trust those horses demonstrated is unlike anything I can ever express in words. Yea, I cried in the war scenes too - watching these horses, these flight animals, carry their riders into war... wow. It was amazing. And while it breaks my heart to think of the suffering and loss of horses in so many wars, it makes me love and respect them that much more. I gave Katchi a few extra hugs Friday morning. And I thanked him for all that he does for me. And he said, "ah that's sweet, now where's my damn peppermint?" Some war horse.