Galloping to glory on back of King’s Speech Oscar triumph

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A MURSLEY firm which provides horses and stunt riders to the film industry is cantering to glory, thanks to Colin Firth’s recent Oscar triumph in the film The King’s Speech.

The Devil’s Horsemen of Whaddon Road, provided horses and carriages for the film, which won Oscars for best picture, best director, best original screenplay and best actor.

General manager Zoe Ross said: “We have worked with Colin Firth before and also with The King’s Speech director Tom Hooper many times.”

She added that Firth, who admitted during the Oscar ceremony to suffering from “fleeting delusions of royalty” while filming, is actually a joy to work with. “Colin is very pleasant, quite reserved and shy,” she said.

The Devil’s Horsemen has more than 65 horses and 200 carriages and carts, as well as a team of stuntmen and women.

The company supplied horses for Channel 4’s Elizabeth I, starring Helen Mirren and Jeremy Irons, and has recently worked on a medieval action film with Sean Bean.

During the making of The King’s Speech, which charts George VI’s struggle to overcome his stammer for his radio broadcasts during the Second World War, the company spent three days on set, providing horses and carriages for background shots. “In one scene of a busy London street, we provided a horse and a rag and bone cart,” said Zoe.

In another scene the king is walking in the park with his speech therapist, played by Geoffrey Rush. Behind them is a police horse, one of several equines supplied by the firm.

Zoe admitted that although the Oscar winner does not ride in this film, he was required to saddle up for his iconic role as the romantic hero Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice. “When you train an actor, you see them every day and you create a real bond with them,” she said.

The company stable also boasts three handsome stallions by the name of Dante, Imperator and Tarantino, who for several years appeared in Lloyds Bank ‘black horse’ TV advertisements

> The Devil’s Horsemen run regular public displays and events at their Mursley venue.

Mum goes free when accompanied by one fee-paying adult at a Mother’s Day Medieval Lunch on Sunday, April 3.

And on Easter weekend, events take a Western turn, with a Wild West Rodeo Show and a Western Country Music Evening.

Find out more at www.thedevilshorseman.co.uk