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Because of Horses

May 10, 2019

Equestrians often say that horses take them on amazing journeys in life — and that’s no exception for movie trainer, Cari Swanson — Elise’s guest today on Because of Horses.


Cari has provided horse talent and training for dozens of top films and television shows including Helen of Troy, Night of the Museum, Yellowstone, Taking Woodstock, and Arthur, as well as Orange Is the New Black, Person of Interest, The Knick, and Snowman. One of Elise’s personal favorites is Winter’s Tale, much of which was filmed on location in New York City and stars Russell Crowe, Will Smith, and Colin Farrell. For Elise, however, the real star of this movie is Novelisto (AKA Listo) — her former Andalusian stallion and the equine love of her life!


Cari has also provided and trained horses for photo shoots for the likes of Ralph Lauren, Tory Sport, Kate Spade, Harper’s Bazaar, British Vogue, Allure magazine, among many others. Chances are, when you see horses in a movie, on TV, a music video, or in a fashion shoot… Cari is behind the scenes, training and working with them.


From her base at Windrock Farm in Amenia, New York, Cari breeds, trains, and sells horses for dressage, jumping, eventing, and trail riding, and offers instruction to riders at all levels. Cari is known for her positive and creative teaching and training philosophies, the result of the study of multiple disciplines. She is a U.S. Dressage Federation silver medalist, an “L” program graduate, and eventing competitor through the preliminary level.


Join Elise and Cari today for this amazing edition of Because of Horses! You will hear all about Cari’s experiences working on set with famous actors (and horses!), how she trains both the actors and the horses, the qualities that make a horse especially suitable for working in front of a camera, everything that she loves about her job, and some of the funny stories from behind-the-scenes!


Topics of Discussion:

[:18] About today’s episode.

[1:46] How did Cari translate her formal training with horses into a career in film? And how did she meet Listo (Elise’s former stallion)?

[9:19] How Cari manages a shoot with a horse and helps them get camera-ready.

[13:21] What makes a particular horse suitable for working on camera?

[16:48] Cari walks us through what shooting a scene is like.

[24:14] The role that trust plays in Cari’s relationship with horses, especially on set.

[25:44] The importance of the relationship between a person and their horse.

[27:00] Why fear plays no role in teaching horses and how kindness is essential.

[33:06] How Cari trains actors – some of whom have never been near a horse – so they appear as if riding comes second nature.

[37:02] Cari shares the funny story of training a nude model, holding a hawk, while riding a horse!

[40:36] Cari’s experience working on a movie behind the scenes vs. seeing the final product.

[48:51] Has Cari had any fangirl moments with an actor, actress… or a horse?

[54:18] What does Cari love about her job?

[55:02] About Cari’s accident seven years ago with a horse.

[59:13] About Cari’s work outside of the entertainment industry!

[1:02:05] About next week’s episode of Because of Horses.

[1:03:12] Where to learn more about Cari and her work online.


Know Someone Inspirational, Whose Life Has Been Forever Changed Because of Horses? Because of Horses would love to get to share their story!

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Mentioned in this Episode:

Winter’s Tale (Film, 2014)

Cari Swanson’s Movie and TV Credits



EquestFile (Use coupon code: BOH10 to receive a 10% discount for two months off your subscription)


Whoa Means Whoa!, by Cari Swanson

Next week’s episode of Because of Horses

Cari’s Instagram: @CariSwanson17

Cari’s Facebook: @SwansonProductions


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