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A horse is a horse, of course, of course

Unless you need a mare to look like a stallion, of course

Unless you need a mare to look like a stallion, of course

September 30, 2009|By TIM ROWLAND

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I got a casting call in the mail the other day -- not for me, I don't have enough feet. But if they pay cash, I think I can help them out.

The notice went as follows:

"In preparation for the shooting later this year of the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures' movie 'Secretariat,' Mayhem Pictures, the producers of the film, will conduct an open, online 'casting call' for horses to portray the legendary 1973 Triple Crown winner."

"Mayhem Pictures?" Never mind, the point is that I happen to have a couple of subjects that I believe would be marvelous stars, and considering that they are currently eating me out of house and home, I would be more than happy to do my part, so to speak. Have saddle, will travel.

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My first thought turned to my own mount Cappuccino, who has a movie star personality if ever there was. Gregarious, fun-loving, slightly air-headed -- if served hay in her dressing room, she would want the green stalks removed.

But then Cappy is a full-figured girl, half thoroughbred, half draft horse. She can run like the wind, but when she does her mind tends to wander and she'll start looking all around, which is never a good thing considering her considerable size and limited braking action. Seeing her run gives you that uneasy feeling that you get when you see a tractor-trailer driver who's text messaging.

She's a sweetie, but because of her size, visitors are often terrified to be in the same barn with her -- although as Beth says, if they had any sense they'd be more scared of the miniature horse Doodlebug, who is sort of the Chuckie of the equine world.

Many mornings, I walk out the door to see Beth's silhouette stalking high on a far-away ridge, a sure sign that the Little Puke, as I call him, has slipped his halter and made a successful getaway.

We have a mean old goose whose name I forget, and Doodlebug is the only creature in the farm who doesn't defer to the unpleasant bird. Should the goose give chase, the Little Puke will turn and twist its beak around to True North.

But the Secretariat casting call says that "a calm temperament is particularly key, especially when multiple takes are involved." Scratch Doodlebug. The only multiple thing he's capable of is fits.

So that leaves Beth's horse, Splendid Brooke, who has the disadvantage of being a mare instead of a colt and a bay instead of a chestnut. According to the casting call, "applicants need not feel that they must have an identical looking horse to be considered. We can do wonders with equine makeup for the white facial markings and the three white socks."

Maybe. If they can powder a bay into a chestnut well and good, but if they have something that can make a mare look like a stallion I don't want to know about it.

They do say they will need "at least two main Secretariats" and "perhaps four stand-ins." Who knew there was such a thing as a stunt horse? But if they need six total, that does increase our odds.

Heck, maybe all three of ours could be of use. Brooke as the main, in-his-prime Secretariat; Cappy as the disillusioned, washed-up Secretariat who has let himself go by gorging on banana, bacon and peanut butter sandwiches; and then the Little Puke as the old, cantankerous Secretariat who spends his time watching C-Span and cussing out the younger generation.

Hollywood could hardly ask for more.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable's WCL-TV Channel 30 evenings at 6:30. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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