The moment I saw the poster thats all over Auckland advertising Carmen
and featuring the famous dancing horses from Andalusia, I knew what kind of horse
Shadowfax must be. No other breed would be so perfect for Shadowfax.
What are Andalusians? Theyre like a kind of Arab horse, often silver-grey
in colour, with delicate faces, huge dark-rimmed eyes and long flowing manes and
tails, but above anything else theyre famous for being trained to dance, or
so it appears. They can seem to move in slow motion, or mark time in place or
prance or curvette or rear at a word of command. They are fearless, intelligent
and beautiful both still and in motion.
They are the ideal horse for film work, I thought, and when I rang around it
appeared that this was so. A number of horses that had been used in The Lord of
the Rings were offered for sale recently under conditions of extreme (but not extreme
enough) secrecy, and two of them were Andalusians.
The two Andalusians sold were a silver grey and a bay, and they were both
main character horses. The was certainly Shadowfax. Or a
Shadowfax:: three of the other horses sold played one character at
different times, and it seems to me that Sir Ian is hardly done with riding yet,
so there may be more than one Shadowfax as well. (Sir Ians riding like, well,
like a White Rider, according to those whove seen him.)
Who was the bay Andalusian? Im guessing it was Legolas horse Arod
unless somebody can contradict me. Though most of the horses of Rohan were
grey, it nowhere says they all were. In any case, this horse can bow and
lie down on command, among other things. Given that Legolas rides without bit or
bridle, the horse that plays Arod would have to be that highly trained. We know
that the horses bow their heads to Gandalf when he addresses them, too. I imagine
that if one of the other character horses needs three different animals
to play his role, then its a complex part.
I think these films will be a treat for horse-lovers.
There were a number of black horses for sale too. Evidently the Nine are done
with their steeds, or most of them. I couldnt discover what kind they were
Arabs at a guess, but I was told that it could be difficult to find so many
black horses with the right qualities in that breed, so that remains unproven.
I asked whether horses were ever asked to do cruel or impossible things in filmwork.
Apparently sometimes thats in the script, but the horsetrainers get to see
those things ahead of time in the script meetings and suggest better ways of doing
Since filming was completed, some of the riders and horse wranglers from the LOTR films have started running shows where people can see the LOTR movie horses, learn about them, and see them in action. You can learn more at Movie Horses NZ: [More]