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Most Dangerous Horse Movie Stunts
 By Winniefield Park   •   20th Feb 2019   •   4,087 views   •   0 comments
There was a time when CGI and other complicated special effects weren’t available to movie makers. Back in the ‘good old days’ both rides and horses did all the wild stunts. There is no doubt that the riskiest stunts were performed by those early stunt riders and actors. Horses were routinely injured and killed. So were their riders injured in many of the stunts they performed. The use of special effects such as CGI and other techniques ensure the safety of both. With them, the dramatic chariot scenes in Ben Hur and gruesome trench scenes from War Horse would not have been possible without risking injury to horses and humans.



Stagecoach
John Wayne is another actor well-known for riding his own stunts. In the 1939 movie Stagecoach however, Wayne is replaced by stunt rider Yakima Cannute in a dramatic scene where the hero jumps aboard a galloping horse that’s part of a team pulling a stagecoach. He leaps from horse to horse, trying to get control of the reins before getting shot. He then falls in between the horses, slides down the pole between them, under the coach, and is then left in the dust as other riders gallop by. It’s said to be one of the most difficult and dangerous stunts on film. It was filmed once, and in one shot.



Devil Horse
In the movie Devil Horse, Yakima Cunnutt again takes on a frightening stunt. The plot has the hero mounting a deadly black stallion. For the stunt, Cannutt is said to have his wrists bound around the horse’s neck and his ankles bound so his legs were strapped around the horse’s barrel. While I couldn’t find the clip that shows this, there is a really impressive ride through some round countryside on a bucking horse.

The Man From Snowy River
The scene of Tom Burlinson galloping down a steep incline went down in movie history as one of the most famous chase scenes in movie history - among horse lovers certainly. Burlinson’s character Jim Craig, is part of a gang following stampeding brumbies with the goal of recovering a valuable colt who has joined the herd. When the other riders pull up because the herd has continued over a rocky ledge, Jim Craig doesn’t break stride as he follows them. The scene is shown in slow motion, and Burlinson rode the stunt himself, although the scene where he appears to jump over a fallen tree at the top of the ledge was done by a stuntman. The stunt was recreated in the sequel, Return to Snowy River.



Three Jumps Ahead
Tom Mix was started acting in 1909 and over his career, appeared in over 300 films, most of them silent and black and white. Mix did his own stunts and most often rode his own horse Tony, who became almost as much of a star as his owner. Mix was often hurt doing his stunts. His most dramatic stunt may have been a jump over a canyon that was 20 feet wide and 90 feet deep. Or maybe it wasn’t his most dramatic stunt because there are those that believe that some camera tricks were used in the filming of the jump. Mix and his horse Tony appear to jump the chasm in a single bound, and movie reviews back in the day maintain that he did indeed complete the jump. Mix himself claims that he jumped the canyon five times to get the shot. But since then, credit for the stunt has been taken by a number of stunt doubles. And internet movie communities have offered several theories of how the stunt was done—or staged. Although it’s said there are trailers showing the stunt in existence, the entire movie, Three Jumps Ahead is considered lost.
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