Hollywood Horses

Horses have been an integral part of movies since The Great Train Robbery debuted in 1903 as a silent film. That pioneer production opened the floodgates for the western movie, and horses began galloping across the screen in waves until the late

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Horses have been an integral part of movies since The Great Train Robbery debuted in 1903 as a silent film. That pioneer production opened the floodgates for the western movie, and horses began galloping across the screen in waves until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when westerns went into decline.


Of course, other types of movies through the years have featured horses. There have been movies about racehorses, jumpers, eventers, pets, ranch horses, and companions. That doesn’t include the ancillary roles they have played in chariot races, as backdrops, and even for comic relief (remember the horse that leaned against the wall in Blazing Saddles?).


During the heyday of films that featured horses, a sub-industry evolved to supply horses for movies. One of the major horse suppliers, along with providing stagecoaches, wagons, and other equipment, was Randall Ranch in Newhall, Calif. The owner of the ranch was Glenn Randall Sr., the man who trained Trigger for Roy Rogers’ personal appearances.


Assisting him were sons Glenn Jr. (J.R.) and Buford (Corky) Randall. Today 75-year-old Corky Randall, trainer of The Black Stallion, is retired, but he has some vivid memories of those early days on the movie sets. More about that later

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Les Sellnow was a prolific freelance writer based near Riverton, Wyoming. He specialized in articles on equine research, and operated a ranch where he raised horses and livestock. He authored several fiction and nonfiction books, including Understanding Equine Lameness and Understanding The Young Horse. He died in 2023.

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