The central focus of my film is the body movement and acting of the horse. I want to really focus on the flow of the horses body movement in relationship to the music and the poem. Its also a way for me to show off my animation skills by concentrating on the movement of one character. I strive to create a piece of animation that is realistic, I really want the audience to be able to connect with the character as if it is real.
Whilst watching the many horse films and documentaries, I have been studying the way a horse behaves in different situations. I have also been watching for the slight variations in movement in consideration to what kind of life the horse has. For example a racehorse will behave differently to a wild mustang. The slight variation in behaviour became apparent whilst I was watching ‘Harry and Snowman’. Which is a documentary based on a dutch immigrant called Harry DeLeyer, who rescued a plow horse off a slaughter truck. Harry paid eighty dollars for the horse and named him Snowman. Harry trained Snowman and within two years they were winning triple crowns for show jumping. They became heroes to the public and their unique story became known as the Cinderella love story. It is a really beautiful documentary full of videos of harry and snowman sharing their unique bond.
It was interesting to see at the beginning how Harry transformed snowman from a stocky plow horse into a supple show jumper.There is an elegance to horses that show jump, its almost as if they’re doing a dance as they move gracefully through the obstacles. I found it fascinating to watch Snowman performance to the music of the shows. I think its incredible that you can teach horses to respond to music in a way that is so graceful.
Whilst speaking to my grandma about the subject, she recommended that I watch videos of the Lipizzaner stallions from the Spanish riding school. I was completely blown away with the variety of movement of all the horses. The Spanish Riding school in Vienna was founded in 1565 to teach the art of Haute Ecole (classical horsemanship). They teach signature exercises, pirouettes and hops. The riders work with famous Lipizzaner stallions, and work with the horses for seven hours a day. It was interesting to read that each horse reacts to the training differently. Some horses need more encouragement and others start to loosen up very quickly. It is a sport and an art form, the horse and rider work together to perform a beautiful equine ballet.
It made me realise whilst watching the horses that there is so much variety and diversity in a horse’s movement. I want to try and include the subtle details in the movement of my horse, rather than sticking to a generic trot or walk. I found a great book based on the movement and biomechanics of a horse called ‘Horse Movement: Structure, Function and Rehabilitation’. It has a great section on explaining how the muscles in each part of the horses body move in relation to one another. Its a really helpful reference for when I animate, I will be able to understand whether the horses body part is moving in the correct way. I am going to spend a lot of time studyithe anatomy of the horse so that when I animate, the movement is accurate to how a horse should move.
Below is a video from the Spanish riding school. There is so much personality in the horse, you can see that there is a thought process in all of the movement. I hope to capture the personality of my horse, I think it is that aspect of animation that makes the character come to life.
Jays, D. (2019). Dances with horses: hoofing it for the equine ballet. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/stage/dance-blog/2015/nov/17/herwig-radnetter-spanish-riding-school-vienna-dancers-lives [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
Harry & Snowman. (2015). [DVD].
Srs.at. (2019). Spanische Hofreitschule. [online] Available at: https://www.srs.at/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2019].
Williams, G. and McKenna, A. (2017). Horse Movement. La Vergne: Crowood.