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Current to Wed Jul 23 17:40:54 GMT 2003
  • - Randy H Eiland
  • Prev by Date: Re: [RC] Actors Who Can Ride
  • - Claudia Provin

    [RC] Actors Who Can Ride - Linda B. Merims

    Angie rides2far@xxxxxxxx said:
    >Richard Farnsworth used to be a stunt man, (I've seen
    >photos of him Roman riding 2 horses at a gallop,...
    Mentioning Richard Farnsworth reminded me of
    another actor who can ride, an international film
    star, that I talked to once; although when I was
    speaking with him I didn't know who he was.
    The French classical dressage expert Jean-Philipe
    Giacomini gave a clinic to the San Diego County
    Morgan Horse club at a farm in Rancho Santa
    Fe in 1996.  I got there early.  Pulling in behind
    me was a elderly (looked 60's or so) gent in a big
    blue pickup.  When he got out I noticed he
    was very tall--a good 6 feet--but exceptionally trim
    and well-proportioned for a man his age.  He
    had a build and carriage any 30 year old would
    We exchanged pleasantries.  His voice did not
    match his physique:  it was a thin, soft, high
    voice with a soft western accent like Richard
    We chatted off-and-on throughout the morning
    as we watched Giacomini work.  It developed
    that he had a ranch in Rancho Santa Fe.  I
    immediately thought "$$," then decided that
    he must be retired businessman to be able to
    afford some of the most expensive acerage
    in the world.  He was raising Flyhawk Morgans.
    He was pleased with the results he was getting.
    It slowly became clear that he already knew
    Giacomini.  I asked him where they had met, and he
    replied that he knew him from *way* back:  they
    had both been students of the great dressage master
    Nuno d'Oliviera at his academy in Portugal in the
    early 1960's.
    This gave me a stop.  *Nobody* was studying
    dressage in Europe in the 1960s!  Dressage had
    not yet penetrated the American riding scene and
    the now-common practise of taking a year to
    study with a riding master in Europe was unheard
    of back then.
    "Were you in the service?" I asked him, figuring
    that maybe he had been stationed over there and
    d'Oliviera's academy was simply the closest place
    he could conveniently get a horse to ride.
    He looked down at me strangely for about five
    seconds, and then softly said, "No...I just had the
    chance to do alot of travelling around when I was
    I revised my assessment:  Must have been the child
    of rich parents, not the self-made businessman I
    had pegged him as.  But the western accent and
    demeanor didn't fit...
    The clinic broke for lunch.  Before the afternoon
    session got started, he made his apologies to the
    group that he had to leave to get back to his ranch.
    He and Giacomini exchanged the warm "See you"s
    of old friends and he left.
    Sometime during the afternoon I found out who he
    was.  Turns out he was active and well-known in
    the local Morgan community.  They told me who
    I had been talking to.
    It was Steve Reeves.
    Linda B. Merims
    Massachusetts, USA
    (Hint:  aka "Hercules")
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