Riding and Horses

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Riding and Horses

"You know, every actor you work with, you ask them, 'So, how do you ride?' And they always say, 'I ride excellently.' Viggo says to me, 'I ride O.K.' He gets on the horse, and he rides better than me. That's what I mean when I say the guy has no ego problems. He does not exist on the Hollywood plane - do you know what I mean?"

Rex Peterson
Finding Viggo By Alex Kuczynski, Vanity Fair magazine, January 2004

"He did things on the horse that the stunt man had difficulty doing. He fell off the horse, he rode bareback, he jumped on the horse at a gallop, which is difficult to do, and he you know, he fell off a few times and he got knocked down and he got kicked a few times, but you know, he also got right back up and wanted to do it again. I think he knew that if there was anything that was really life-threatening, he would come forward and say, 'I don't feel comfortable doing this.' But he never did."

Joe Johnston
IGN gets the behind-the-action goods from the director, writer and star of Hidalgo.
By Jeff Otto, IGN
March 04, 2004

"I pretty much got to do [all the riding]," Mortensen says. "That's because I worked hard with the trainer, with Rex Peterson and with the stunt guy Mike Watson and with all the horses and because I rode as a kid, so I was comfortable, so they felt it was a worthwhile risk. I'm sure the producers sometimes were sweating it but sometimes you do take some chances in order to get something that you can't really buy otherwise, digitally or otherwise, especially with a movie like this which isn't a special-effects driven movie, you can follow me in one shot without cutting. You can be close on me and see what I'm doing. "

Viggo Mortensen
IGN gets the behind-the-action goods from the director, writer and star of Hidalgo.
By Jeff Otto, IGN
March 04, 2004

There's a part of the body that we weren't aware of called the 'nacho'. In other words, it's sort of right in the middle, it's not your, uh, you know, up front and it's not your...and that got pretty sore. We got a nacho pad, but it was a little too late.

Viggo Mortensen on riding bareback
'King' Star Returns To The Screen, Riding High
by Todd Camp
Star Telegram, 6 March 2004

How was your riding ability before versus after you made the film? Now you're pretty good. Actually, you are very good.

I think by the end of the movie I had gotten back to where I was almost as good as when I was a little boy. I'll never be that good because when you're a kid you're more flexible and more fearless. You don't care if you wipe out or fall off. As a kid you don't have the concept that you'll never break every bone in your body. Life is interesting and fun as a kid.

Viggo Mortensen
190 North Interview by Janet Davies, transcription by Mararan
Chigago, IL, 22 February 2004

"They're sort of unruly these horses and they're already a pretty high-strung breed and we're all packed together knee and once the horses realize what we're up to, they're all wanting to go and they're all wanting to kill each other. I'm on this little horse, which is effective visually because he's strong, but even though he's little he's got all this personality. He's a stallion who thinks he's pretty tough so he's wanting to pick fights. It was really the most worrisome moment in a way of the whole movie, was that, not this full-tilt stuff that was kinda scary at times.'

Viggo Mortensen on the start of the race
Singin' in the Reigns
by Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review, Mar '04

Is it true that you and your British co-star, Zuleikha Robinson, could have been killed while shooting Hidalgo?

That was scary! We were both riding this horse, and it just took off and headed for this really high wall. I knew that there were trucks and equipment on the other side, and two huge storage jars on top. I was sitting behind Zuleikha, just hanging on. Somehow we stayed on, but Zuleikha lost the reins and I jumped off and grabbed them, and miraculously no one - not even the horse - got hurt. We could easily have been killed. Zuleikha was giggling - I think the shock hit her later. It wasn't caught on camera, but it would have looked like a great special effect. It was unbelievable!

Our Kiss Was Just a kiss
By John Millar
Hot Stars
27 March 2004

"I had no intention of buying a horse off of this movie. But with T.J. he was...I don't know, I just got to really, really like him. He's got such a unique, strong personality. He's a very small horse, you know, technically he's a pony. I mean he's about 14 Hands 2, I guess. And 14 Hands 3 and up is a horse and below is a pony, technically. He's a small horse, but very intelligent, very quick learner, for a stallion very relaxed on the set. He wasn't afraid or worried about the lights, camera, or anything. He was totally calm. You know that comic strip Andy Capp? That guy with his hat? I just think of him like that. He would just be there like, 'Whatever.''

Viggo Mortensen on TJ
The Lord of the Rings & Hidalgo Star Discusses Horses, Learning New Languages, Photography and More.
By Spence D, 2004

"TJ had a strong personality. He was smaller than the other horses and like a dog he thought he was BIG. Like the dachshunds that run around chasing big dogs. He's very smart. He's good at pretending he didn't hear you. He's very lazy. He definitely had a personality! I thought, "This is going to be a chore!" But we got to know each other and he's a smart animal. You're not going to be able to lie to that horse. You need to ask nicely."

Singin' in the Reigns
by Emily Blunt
The Blunt Review, Mar '04

A picture builds up of a life lived as a series of rare and celebrated moments. "Last week we were filming Hidalgo in High Plains, Montana, where there was no fence for miles; you could just imagine that it was 1890 or 1790," he says. "I was in the middle of a herd of six or seven hundred horses. I was really aware of the fact that very few people would ever get to be in such a place. Nobody in the world gets to be in the middle of that many horses, running as fast as you can." And where does that thought lead you to, I ask. He pauses. "Just, 'Don't forget this'."

The New Hollywood Male
by Charles Gant
Arena Hommes Plus #18, 2001

Adopting horses is typical of the man who is, arguably, the hottest American actor of the moment. You might even call the gesture Mortensian. It has all the right ingredients - loyalty, manly sensitivity, a pinch of mysticism. When Russell Crowe yaks about his herd of cattle, you accept it as part of his tough guy shtick; when Mortensen buys a horse, you just know it's because, somehow, the animal spoke to him, that he had to have it. Mortensen puts the 'must' into Mustang - untamed compulsions drive him.

Lone Star
by Peter Ross
Sunday Herald, 2004
Last edited: 13 September 2011 11:39:27