Talent scouts on lookout for well-spoken horses

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Shannon Ascott checks to see if Muesli - at the Redwings sanctuary at Oxhill - could be a recording star. Photo: Iain Duck.

HOLD your horses there’s an outside chance that a horse living in the neighbourhood could hit the big time in Hollywood if it makes all the right noises.

Film makers are on the look-out for some genuine sounding horse noises to put in movies and it appears British horses are in line for silver screen stardom if they neigh the right way.

The Great British public has been moved to complain about existing horse noises used in all the big blockbuster films. Horse owners say the ‘language’ that horses use to greet each other or to greet humans is far more complex than the odd neigh or whinny portrayed on film.

Staff at Redwings Horse Sanctuary in Oxhill have jumped at the chance to help track down a horse in the Stratford area that might just fit the bill when it comes to recording horse noises.

“It all started earlier in the year when people took to social media to complaint about the horse noises used in films,” said Stephanie Callen, Redwings press and media manager.

“As a result of which a company called Equilab, the app and social network for equestrians, has partnered with famous film music and sound library, De Wolfe Music, suppliers of sound and music for big Hollywood blockbusters. What they require is a short recording of a horse noise  which will be added to De Wolfe’s archive and potentially used in movies for decades to come. Equilab has already devised an ap which helps track the health and exercise of a horse. It would be great if the horse was local.”

The initiative is being undertaken with the support of the UK’s leading horse charity, Redwings which has five horse sanctuaries open to the public – including Oxhill – and other locations which are closed sanctuaries.

Nic de Brauwere, head of welfare and behaviour for the charity said:

“We love this project! Horses use a variety of noises, such as nickering, snorting and sighing, which – when combined with body language – communicate a wide range of emotions. However, when it comes to the big screen, an image of a horse is usually only accompanied by a classic neighing sound and often in situations where the horse would be unlikely to make that noise anyway. At the Sanctuary, we observe the many ways horses communicate between themselves and with humans on a daily basis, so we’re really pleased to join this project and to highlight, especially to Hollywood, that there’s a much richer selection of noises out there to help provide a more realistic portrayal of our four-legged friends.”

To achieve the perfect recording Equilab is asking its UK user base of 50,000 equestrians to submit a high-quality recording of their horse – neighing, whinnying, snorting, or nickering – via a sound recording feature within the free-to-use Equilab app.

A panel of judges including Nic de Brauwere will select the winning horse noise from the submissions made by the public.