photo credit: Phyllis Burchett
I am training Ray Stevenson, the actor who rides in Jayne Mansfield’s Car, a new film written, directed and acted in by Billy Bob Thorton. Ray learned in a few days how to steer and ride Mr. T for the the scene where he gallops across a sunflower field with his new love interest. Ray was an excellent student and learned to ride balanced quickly after many exercises like this one where he moves his arm independently of his seat.
Every child’s dream Birthday Bash at Windrock Farm with an amazing show of the Hollywood horses by Rex and an opportunity for all of the kids to sit on the horse couch. The parents have no idea how special and rare this is. There was a bouncy castle for them to jump around in and delicious food catered by Pigs Can Fly.
RJ and Mr. T will be giving a demo at 2pm at the Meadow Horse Park in Doswell, VA as part of the 40th year Birthday Bash for the amazing Big Red, Secretariat. Come visit the park and meet us in the stables, or at the arena. Check for upcoming demos and clinics on our web site Swanson Peterson Producions
Passion for horses led to birth of production company
2/13/2011 6:27 PM
By BEN BAUGH
It seems Cari Swanson and Rex Peterson were destined to become professional horsemen, and the confluence of circumstances, people and events brought them together.
The horsemen are in Aiken teaching at private barns and performing demonstrations at different locations in the area with horses that some may have seen on the big screen – RJ, who appeared in “Hidalgo,” and Mr. T, who was featured in Dreamer and “Secretariat.” The two formed Swanson Peterson Productions two years ago.
They met after the film “Hidalgo,” and RJ brought them together, said Swanson, who is based in Amenia, N.Y.
“It was a coincidence; one of my old roommates had worked with Rex on the movie ‘The Horse Whisperer,’” said Swanson, who grew up around horses. “Margaret (my roommate) kept on saying, ‘This guy is nuts about horses like you are.’ Horses were all I cared about. I was working in publishing in Manhattan; we shared a weekend house, but every weekend I came out to ride my horse. It was obviously a passion.”
Swanson dismissed the idea of meeting anyone involved with horses, and, years later when she was watching “Hidalgo” and she was looking for another horse, she saw Peterson’s name come up in the movie’s credits. Swanson contacted her old roommate to see if she had kept in touch with Peterson and still had his number, and she placed a call to the California-based horseman.
Through his trick and Roman riding, he eventually got to meet and work for one of the world’s legendary horse trainers, whose influence and universal respect as a horseman far exceeded his work in Hollywood, Glenn H. Randall Sr.
“He said, ‘Any friend of Margaret’s is a friend of mine. I suppose you could come out and meet him (RJ),’” said Swanson. “I talked to him for two years, and I convinced him to sell him to me.”
When Swanson realized RJ was so well-trained and a trick horse, she needed to have Peterson, who grew up in the ranch country of Nebraska, along with her when she was conducting clinics.
“He was helping me with my dressage, jumping and eventing riders and helping to solve problems, and it was at that time we decided to build a business,” said Swanson.
The horsemen conduct clinics nationwide and have a television show in production, “Taking the Reins with Rex and Cari,” said Swanson.
“The television show is about training horses, our methodologies, our training techniques but also teaching the owner, the rider and the trainer,” said Swanson, “We have a trailer; we’ve been shopping it around, and we’ve been getting a tremendous reception. We want to find a home for it.”
The horsemen place a great deal of emphasis on horsemanship, solving horses’ behavior and training issues and improving communication with their horses, teaching the people they work with rhythm, balance, confidence, getting them to understand what they’re doing and how to apply it, said Swanson.
Another training demonstration will be held around 3 p.m. tomorrow at Buckleigh Farms at Rt. 302, 4455 Wagener Road. A training lecture and slide show will also be held this evening from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Hunt Room at the Willcox.
To set up a training appointment with Peterson and Swanson, contact them via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Training costs $100 an hour.
Contact Ben Baugh at email@example.com.
Here are Rex on Mr. T, Cari on McCoy and Ryan on Brownie at the Aiken Training Center for a clinic and demonstration on training horses for all disciplines. A crowd of over a hundred people came out in the rain to meet these amazing horses.
Meet Rex and Cari working RJ/Hidalgo and Mr. T/Secretariat at Buckleigh Farm on Wed at 3pm in the covered arena. Learn how Rex trains horses for film and watch these amazing horses work at liberty and under saddle. The farm is located on Rt 302, 4455 Wagener Rd, Aiken, SC 29805
Your horse should see you as the leader of the herd. From the moment you snap the lead rope on the halter, he should be paying attention to you and respecting your space. A common error we find is that people let their horse walk past them, on them, push into them, try to nip them for treats and ignore the handler’s personal space. How your horse reponds to you on the ground will translate under saddle. If he ignores you light tug to slow down and stay behind you while walking to the paddock, he will ignore your half halts and leg aids. Set the tone immediately, and be the boss.
Establish rules and laws. There must be consequences if these rules are broken or the trouble begins and soon your horse will take over. Remember that you set the tone for your relationship and if you want a safe, confident, respectful horse, you must lay down the law and enforce them at the beginning.
Mr. T looks stunning in his dressage gear along with RJ in his western saddle riding down main street in downtown Lexington, KY for the Horse Parade to kick off the opening of the World Equestrian Games which is being hosted for the first time in the United States. These are two of the most famous horses featured in Hollywood films today. Fans traveled from around the country to meet them at the International Equestrian Festival last week. For more information, read Dressagedaily.com
Vanessa rides Tony with Cari on Allez and Lauren on a late summer afternoon. Learning to ride with excellent balance and rhythm at Windrock Farm. You can never start too early. Learning correct basics from the beginning will result in a skilled confident rider.
Fiona demonstrates her talent for trick riding on Goldie with Rex on Mr. T, just back from filming on location in Texas. Seven Days in Utopia (2011) is a new film about a professional golfer who finds himself on a horse ranch and Mr. T had a scene in a rain storm rearing to drop a stunt rider doubling for the principal actress. T is back in New York for another day on Arthur (2011), a film we worked on this summer with Jennifer Garner and Russell Brand.
Learning to ride is fun, especially at Windrock Farm when one of the trainers is the man who trained the horses for The Horse Whisperer. Rex has a special gift teaching kids to be confident and accomplish goals they never dreamed of. Here is Fiona standing on RJ’s four year old filly after a long hack at Wethersfield.
Cari and Rex working with Mr. T and Lizard on the set of Arthur in Long Island. The weather held out for the filming to be a success. Every scene had three cameras on to maximize the coverage for each set up. The horses worked well and the actors progressively improved with their riding skills as the day progressed. The film stars Jennifer Garner and Russell Brand.
We have to rear Mr. T for an upcoming scene in a film with the two main actors on the horse. To demonstrate how easy this is on a well schooled horse, we put a novice young rider behind Cari in the saddle and asked T to stand up. He lifts up effortlessly and waits for Rex to let him down. There will also be stunt doubles for the main actors if they are not comfortable with the scene.
Bard Summerscape is like a rural version of the Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It brings together visual and performing artists as both presenters and audience, creating a cultural center of gravity for the Hudson Valley. Rex is visiting from California and met up with a colleague, David Straithearn. They worked together on the film Temple Grandin.
We recently took a trip to horse country in Virgina to teach a clinic and were hosted by Rex’s old friend Bobby Duvall and his lovely wife Luciana. Bobby met RJ/Hidalgo, enjoying watching Rex work him through all his paces. The two famous actors have a great deal in common. Rex’s son, Ryan looks on, enjoying all of the family stories Bobby remembers from years of knowing the Peterson’s in Nebraska.
Congratulations to Chip for his first foal of the season, this handsome colt is beautiful, smart and has a great sense of humor at one month old. We just returned from a quick road trip to VA to drop off a horse and pick up a pony and have a quick layover at Chip’s farm in Berryville where Spring is in full bloom.
Trigger and all of his doubles were trained by the great horseman, Glenn Randall, Sr. Rex had the honor to learn from this master horse trainer for nearly two decades. Glenn could train a horse to do anything, including “empty out” on command. This video is a great tribute to the legendary horse and his partner.
I have been watching old John Wayne and Roy Rogers movies and recently found this hilarious video on youtube showing the Cowboy is everywhere.
You can see how Cache Jr. is gaining more and more confidence walking the plank, he is very careful to put his feet on secure footing. This kind of extreme training takes hours of practice and patience….it is amazing what you can teach your horse if you take the time to explain to him what you want and give him the opportunity to learn to have the confidence.