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At the 15 minute mark of the opening episode of Peaky Blinders' Season 5, Tommy has to kill Dangerous the horse, who subsequently dies in an act of stunning cinematography/equine acting.

How did they get Dangerous the horse to die so well - or alternatively, how do shows usually get horses to do such things? Is there any supplementary/making-of material relating to the horse and that scene that sheds more light on the process?

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It was all done in camera, with a trained horse and film-industry horse professionals. The director Anthony Byrne detailed that specific scene in an interview:

The horse was trained to do that move and it was on a pulley system, so there was a guy at the back of the horse where he pulls this lead which yanks the horses head back and rears the horse up.

"We dug up [the earth around the horse] and put in softer earth then put the grass back on top of it so that it was cushioned for the horse to land on."

He added: "We had two cameras and did it maybe three times because the horse gets used to the actions."

The sound effects were done separately.

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  • Perfect, exactly what I was after. Thanks for updating. Oct 6 at 15:59
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I have a piece of trivia that should help you to understand this a bit. Currently, the most popular "job" among horses is no longer pulling heavy stuff, carts, people, messages and so on. In modern times, acting is the most popular job for horses. And if that is what they do the most, then they are bound to be good at it.

In older times, it was probably like with animals in circus - they are beaten and hurt until they obey your command. Such practices led to situations like this: during the shooting of Ben-Hur in 1924, around 150 horses died. Later, things started to get a bit better, but things like this still happened:

They would drill holes in the front horseshoes and run a wire up to the reins,” says Dent. “Then when the horse’s front feet were up mid-gallop the rider would pull and the horse’s feet would stay up. Or they’d gallop horses into pits that were about eight feet deep.

According to this source, nowadays, it depends on finding the right horse, which is athletic and fearless and they just gradually train it to fall down on command and the process could be compared to teaching a dog some tricks.

Ben-Hur source

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