Eva, re: the brown horse: if all four movies were shot on roughly the same locations, he might have been a rental animal from a local stable?
Shirley: my impression is that it tends to be a mutual thing between the actor and the horse handlers-the actor showing interest in particular horses, maybe, and the handler either approving the choice or steering them towards something more suitable. Jimmy Stewart requested Pie frequently because he was a mellow, cooperative and attractive animal. Pie was probably being assigned to Murph in his early films for similar reasons, since Murphy had initially a lot to learn about horsemanship. I am curious as to whether Murph had had some kind of falling out with the horse wrangler on The Wild and the Innocent, because that was the case where he got thrown by a skittish mare, partly because the handler hadn't warned him that she had a foal with her. That sounds like the kind of passive revenge a crew member might take against a star he considered too "uppity" in his opinions about horses, or for beating him at poker, playing a prank on him that involved rattlesnakes, etc....
I know this was posted long ago (2011). But I wanted to comment anyway. Audie was a "practical joker of the first water" and
I am sure there were some stars who did not appreciate these pranks. One can only pray that Audie being thrown off
was an accident. I would hate to think the horse person actually held a grudge against him. If this was the case he
would have been sacked, if it was found out. Audie was a tough little guy and certainly could hold up well under many
types of punishment.
It is no fun being thrown. I had an experience when I was young and visited a friend that had a horse. She had
me ride double. What I didn't know, and nothing was said, is the horse didn't like it. I had just barely managed
to seat myself behind her when wham, I was back on the ground, on my back, with the girl on top of me. Though
I wasn't hurt, I certainly had a definite respect for a horses' likes and dislikes. I have never gotten on a horse since.
I love to pat and rub them, but am not really interested in riding them. What a mean trick.
I don't know if Eva is still here, but she did an extraordinary job in creating this thread. Maybe Richard, when he
does manage to find some free time will give it its own special place. Thanks, Eva!