As an equestrian I usually have a chuckle at the horse movies. It seems that none of the producers ever hires enough subject matter experts to keep inaccuracies from creeping in.
While most family horse movies are formulaic, they can often be entertaining. Sadly the one we rented recently, “The Derby Stallion,” was entertaining only because it was truly terrible.
It’s a boy and race horse movie and we thought my daughter might like it as it stars High School Musical star Zac Efron.
It turns out that even she couldn’t stand to watch the movie. It was that bad.
The movie followed the general structure of your typical teen/horse movie. You know, boy is supposed to follow in footsteps of father and become star baseball/basketball/football player. Boy abandons father’s dream to pursue his hidden love. Enter horse. Boy shows natural talent for riding and either tames previously unrideable horse or achieves monumental success. In either case boy wins over father and achieves monumental success.
Okay, I can accept that part of the story. What’s harder to take in the movie is the idea that the teen boy who has never sat on a horse in his life is able to compete in — and win — a steeplechase race a mere six weeks after deciding to abandon baseball to pursue his dream. Not only is the teen a “natural” but the so-called race horse manages to win without any conditioning. Now, my TB stays pretty fit but I can’t imagine that he could win a race tomorrow even though he’s been in regular work.
His main competition, the local spoiled rich boy, is supposed to be the champion steeplechase jockey in the state. It’s a shame he can’t ride either. It’s also surprising that he trains his steeplechase horse over stadium jumps in a ring, riding in a regular jumping saddle. Okay, his “trainer” times him over the course with a stop watch to make sure he’s riding fast enough. So does Zac Efron’s trainer, who times him jumping the horse over cross rails.
Having just watched a video of the Aintree Grand National, the final race in the movie is well, a bit of a let down.
Here’s a trailer for the movie so you can get a taste. If you think you’d like to watch it the good news is that you can watch the entire movie on YouTube (in 10 minute segments!).
So, what movie gets your vote for the worst horse movie?