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Baylee meets Sam Dent
Horsemaster

Baylee meets Sam Dent | Kidspiration

Did you ever want to be like your dad when you grow up? Maybe have a job like his or learn his trade? Sam Dent has done just that. She’s a horse master and works for her father, Steve Dent, in their family business in Hertfordshire, England, which trains horses and then works with them on movie and television production sets.

Sam has been riding horses and competing internationally since she was three years old. Now twenty-three, she and older brother Will train the horses to perform, and the actors how to ride and handle the animals. The actors in War Horse, including Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and Patrick Kennedy “weren’t the best when they turned up,” she told The Telegraph newspaper, “but they all took to it.”

Still as Dent Horse Master, training and caring for the Dent horses is Sam’s most important job. It’s hard to say no to what movie directors want, she says, because they “don’t always like it. But ultimately we’re the ones in charge of the horses.”

 



Baylee:
Hi. I’m Baylee, and I’m here at Fieldways Farm interviewing Sam Dent. She trains horses for movies. Let’s see how it goes.

—-

Hi, Sam. Nice to meet you. Tell me who you are and what you do.

Sam:
My name is Sam Dent and I train actors and horses for the film industry.

Baylee:
What’s one of the biggest movies you’ve done?

Sam:
I think War Horse is probably the biggest credit, but we’ve done Snow White and the Huntsman, the original Black Beauty, we just did Beauty and the Beast, The Huntsman, and we’ve just done Ben Hur as well – that’s been filmed out in Rome.

Baylee:
Do you have any stories about the films that you’ve made?

Sam:
Yeah. I mean, we’ve had some really interesting people come to ride here. When we were doing Snow White and the Huntsman, we taught Kristen Stewart to ride, and she was so, so nervous. Really nervous.

And she would try really hard, but she never felt like she was improving when she was here. And then, on set, she’d be the actress that just pulled it out of the bag. She nailed it every time.

—-

Yeah, this is Aroma. He’s my favorite. We’ve had him for quite a while. He’s a really good actor’s horse and he’s trained to lie down, he does Spanish walk and bits and pieces like that.
So this is Pinocchio. He’s a bit cheeky. He’s still mentally about four, but he’s now eight. It’s time for him to grow up, but I don’t think it’s ever going to happen. He’s actually a white horse, but for the last film, we dyed him black, so his roots are just coming through.
This is Rusty. He’s one of our best horses. He’s an actor’s horse. He was Russell Crowe’s horse in Robin Hood, and Kristen Stewart rode him in Snow White and the Huntsman. Have you seen Stardust? There’s a unicorn in it and he’s the unicorn as well.

Baylee:
Do you like taking care of the horses while they’re doing the filming?

Sam:
Yeah, it’s good fun. It is really good fun. Every day is different. I couldn’t have an office job because I’d get very bored, I think; and every day is completely different. You meet new people and it’s really good fun.

Baylee:
How do you measure a horse, because my father said that you have to do it in hands like that.

Sam:
If a horse is 15 hands, it’s 153 centimeters.

—-

So, we’re going to get Rusty to lie down. So, in a film if he was either playing dead or just sleeping in a stable, this is how we’d get him down into that position.
So, hold the whip and then I’ll just do it with you so you can feel the pressure. So you go… good. And then step back this way, put the whip down. Good. And then come around here and then you can just sit here. Just sit there, that’s fine. Great.
And then just crouch down and then give him a nice stroke on his neck. Go a little bit closer to him. Good. He’s falling asleep now. Look at his eyes. So we’re going to get him up, so just make a duck noise. There we go.

Baylee:
How did you get into –

Sam:
In the industry?

Baylee:
Yeah. In the industry?

Sam:
So, my Dad is a stunt coordinator and I’ve just sort of followed in his footsteps. It was a family thing. I think I’m the third or fourth generation now.
I’ve sort of always known that this is what I wanted to do, so when I was at school, I was the typical “don’t really fancy being here” because I know I wanna be riding horses.
I left school at 16 after my GCSEs. I left a bit before that and went home tutored, just so I could start on Robin Hood, and that was my first film from start to finish. And so I was 15 when I started in the company full-time.

Baylee:
What advice would you give to someone my age?

Sam:
To do whatever you want to do to the best of your ability and be happy with what you want to do. Otherwise there’s no point doing it.

Baylee:
Thank you Sam. It was nice to meet you.

Sam:
Lovely to meet you, too.

Baylee:
Well that was a great trip around Fieldways Farm. I hope you enjoyed meeting Sam and the horses. See you next time.