Go behind the scenes with our team, as we embark on one of the largest projects The British Horse Society has ever undertaken.
Filled with highs and lows sure to make you laugh, we share the 4am starts, the fun of script filming with horses and the excitement when a plan comes together!
Day one of filming...
As we embark on the first day of filming, Phoebe, groom for Millfield Equestrian Centre, gets an early morning wake up call at 5am with our film crew setting up outside the front door.
With a forecast of sunshine and light clouds, we are greeted in the early morning in late April with one of the coldest, greyest days to start our epic filming sequence with a makeup artist – unfortunately, stuck behind a tractor on her way from Bristol! The birds sang, the sun came up and we were away (actually we had been away since 4am to get that beautiful bird song – make sure you listen out for it!).
Scene one, first cut… and we begin!
From Phoebe’s rather small narrow lane (perfect for a rather large film crew, BHS crew and van!), we moved on to Millfield where planned site building works had somewhat overrun. Nic, known as a ‘Marmite’ director in the industry, shouts over to us to ‘kindly ask them to stop’ or something similar, as we re-take one of the most intimate stable shots – again, again, again and again!
Clever, a stunning mare owned and competed by BHS Fellow Danny Anholt, has a scene to show her unique relationship with her groom Phoebe – as we are tasked with capturing that beautiful moment an ear flicks, a head rises and a nicker greets Phoebe as her friend hears her walking into the stable block.
Here we go, all set up… ear will flick towards Phoebe as she hears… oh no, not Phoebe… a pneumatic drill and JCB. Hmmm... not in the script. Action BHS team to delicately urge the builders they might like a tea break until we have captured this all important scene! Good job the BHS team work in relationships!
Laughter and spirits remained high as we began capturing those magical moments between groom and horse, almost forgetting the weather had turned a dull shade of grey with rain, our reccie horses due for filming were in a lesson and the film crew had disappeared for a pub lunch!
Scenes that didn’t make the final cut showed the great camaraderie and team spirit between the team at Millfied Equestrian – a wonderful team who pull together – and who are magnificent when you offer a plate full of bacon butties, only to re-shoot the scene around six times and ask them to refrain from actually eating the butties until they were stone cold! Sorry guys!
Following hours of filming in late afternoon came the moment of stunning mare Clever having a play in the field, the sound of horses’ hooves thundering along the ground, the grace that a mare like Clever dances with…and we hear from Phoebe herself about why she loves her career as a groom… oh no, wait… stop filming… helicopters are doing manoeuvres above us! Not in the script!
Bacon butties, scrubbing stables, scrubbing horses, pouring water almost everywhere (yes, that is where those beautiful shards of light are captured like they magnificently just appeared for us!) and pleading with builders… all in the job spec! We are one team and proud to be!
We literally squeeze every second of the day out of filming… until we wrap! Hours of footage, a very tired team and a very tired Phoebe filled with Haribo sweets – but a very successful first day... moments of magic were captured and off to dinner we retreat to celebrate our first campaign film footage!
Second filming day...
Adam, our Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship, begins his filming debut on a wintery day in May!
Starting out at Adam’s rustic stables… and ops! Horse escaped! Not in the script! Nic, the director, wanted fast, exciting, hooves thundering… here we go, we provided it! Thankfully everyone was out of the way, and no equipment was damaged… oh, apart from Natasha, our fantastic Director of Marketing and Communications. Perhaps she was slightly in the way… we must say at this point, no directors were hurt in the making of these films!
As we keep motivating Adam to say one more time, ‘My name's Adam and I’m a Stage 3 Coach in Complete Horsemanship’, his teeth chatter just a little more as the crew and team start to don some interesting looking beanies to keep warm! A fantastic day as the team pull together and our rider, Emma, receives a day of coaching from our expert team and Adam himself.
We won’t mention that during a road sequence, that didn’t make it into the final film we had an irate farmer in a massive tractor shouting abuse for delaying him.
Adam’s dog was the star of the show, looking enthusiastic and perfectly behaved for every cut of the scene to jump in and out of Adam’s pick-up truck – who said never work with animals?!
Third day of filming…
Maddy and her mum come prepped for the day. Having delayed the filming day from a stunningly beautiful day (another accurate forecast which us horsey people live by), we were welcomed by another of England’s best grey days! Of course, being a very professional team reccies had been done at all locations previously to ensure we had the right set up, planned routes for driving scenes and horses had been chosen specifically for temperament and filming. Of course, filming with horses does not always go to plan… we’ll leave that note with you!
Having spotted a beautiful length of country lane, we prepped to begin shooting only to find temporary roadworks had been set up, meaning that our mum and daughter sequence driving in was delayed while they waited at the lights each time they passed.
Hours and hours… and hours and hours of footage ensued. Awesome footage. With a globally talented director and producer, three beautiful films emerged looking like the sun was shining, the horses were to script and nobody had frost bite. We hope you enjoy watching them as much as we did making them!