Sunday, August 15, 2010

Behind the Scenes at Horse Master

I'm a good month behind on this post, please forgive me.  I've been debating on how to proceed without telling too much about the episodes or any crew secrets.  I also tend to be a bit wordy, so I was afraid my post would be way too long (that's still to be seen, huh?).  I've finally settled for some of the more memorable moments, at least from my point of view.

The morning of the first day of shooting was beautiful.  The weather was perfect and the backdrop.  Well, the backdrop, not so much.  Julie's neighbor had been building a barn for the three months prior to shooting.  They'd built the roof on the ground and were going to use a crane to lift it into place on the barn.  Guess which day the crane was scheduled to lift the roof?  You guessed it, the first day of shooting!  Cheryl (her wardrobe wrangler) had talked to the foreman the night before and worked it out so that we could call over when we were ready to shoot and they'd cease moving the roof, then we'd call back when we were clear.  It was unbelievably gracious of Julie's neighbor to agree to such a thing.  After a few times, though, Julie decided that it wasn't that distracting and that we'd just continue to shoot through it saying, "do you know what it costs per hour to rent one of those?".  If I hadn't been a fan of hers before, I would have been after that statement.  She's so down-to-earth and wants to continue to be a good neighbor that she was willing to do her shooting around her neighbor's barn raising.  So, when you watch the Colorado episodes when they air next year, if you hear some odd background noise it's her next-door neighbor's barn going up.

Normally, six episodes are shot in three days, but for this shoot Heidi scheduled eight episodes in four days.  It actually worked out perfectly, though a great deal of that was because we were at "home".  If we needed something, we could go dig in the barn, tack room, or bunkhouse to get what we needed.  I heard horror stories about how they'd shoot from sun-up to sun-down and were always scrambling for the light.  I didn't feel any of that at this shoot.  In fact, we were done with filming no later than six o'clock each night.  We were still plenty exhausted, but we were at least able to get a good night's sleep each night.  Those of us at the "party house" - Lucy's house - were in bed by eigth-thirty pretty much every night.  So much for being bachelorettes for the week.

The first three episodes were all English disciplines. I know nothing at all about English tack, which proved to be a challenge for the Horse Grip.  I was lucky that Lucy was around to teach me how to do the stirrup length adjustments that needed to be done and to teach me about over-girths (still don't get them, but I know what one is).  I always thought that English tack looked pretty simple, but I'll take Western tack any day.  There's so much stuff that goes along with English that I never knew about; there's nothing simple about it.

Also in one of our first three episodes was a 17.3 hand Hanoverian jumper.  His rider had to use a three-step step-ladder to mount.  I really wanted to get my picture with him, but couldn't figure out how to hold him and get a picture with my camera at the same time (without disrupting the others who were working).  Since I'm 15 hands, that horse was almost a foot taller than me at the withers.  It's kind of mind boggling.  At one point, I was on the opposite side of the horse and both Julie and Heidi were looking for me.  I raised my hand to show them where I was and they couldn't see my hand over his back.  How crazy is that?


Mrs. Mom said...

Dude---- if you were to ride something THAT blasted big Diva, we'd have to get you a parachute for dismounts!!!

Glad you had fun, and how flipping cool of Julie to not be a biotch about the neighbors!! So many people are putz's these days... glad she isn't!!! ;)

GunDiva said...

Julie and her husband are amazing and gracious. They literally opened their home to all of us cast and crew members during the shoot and made us all feel like we were at our own home.

Dreaming said...

I just finished a Julie Goodnight View-athon, catching up on a bunch of shows that had been recorded. Now, when I watch, I look for things you mention - like color-coordinated clothes!
I can't wait to see these episodes
I've never thought about how many hands high I am! Wow! I'm 16 hands!

GunDiva said...

I went to a taping of a DVD today and couldn't believe all the things I'd learned at Julie's. Things that no one even thought about for today's taping...tuck your britches pockets in, dust the hay off your knees, clean off the saddles, etc.

Rachel said...

Sounds like an amazing experience. And how hilarious (and awe inspiring) to not have been seen while waving over the big guy!