Informative, inspiring, and endearing, My Heroes were Cowboys is a sweet short story.
Netflix has just released My Heroes Were Cowboys, a short documentary based on the life of Rob Wiltshire. At only 23 mins long I would class this as a short film, but what a lovely documentary-style short film it is. This story gives an insight into Wiltshire’s childhood, why he decided to become a horse trainer, and how his horses made it into the filming industry.
Knowing some horse trainers for film and TV I can really appreciate this short film. For other viewers, this is a lovely eye-opener into this world – we get to see live footage, old photographs, and interviews with Wiltshire’s family. It wasn’t always an easy ride, we’ve all heard the famous saying “never work with animals or kids” when it comes to filming (they can be difficult to work with, unpredictable, and difficult to read and control) but Wiltshire got his breakthrough when his horses appeared on the 1990’s advert for Marlboro – this got him to the top of the industry.
The love and pride they have in their animals are beautiful. Watching Wiltshire and his horses play and perform together you can see a special spark between them. Wiltshire is humble, gentle and was born to train horses. They’re such kind, intelligent creatures, in a lot of the clips you can tell the horses are enjoying themselves and loving the limelight. For animal-loving viewers, like myself, he does not whip the horses. The pointers are used for sound only.
The visuals in this film are absolutely stunning. The music is soft and compliments the amazing, creative shot sequences, taking nothing away from the powerful imagery.
If you’re a fan of westerns you’ve probably seen one of Wiltshire’s horses on the big screen. Some of his horses have been in films such as It Nearly Wasn’t Christmas and Django Unchained. His horses have been in some of the biggest productions on the planet. I must admit I was left wanting to learn and know more – but this was a great start.
Overall, this is a wonderful short film. I highly recommend this for anyone who is a fan of what goes on behind the scenes of film and television, who are fans of the Western genre, and for anyone who is interested in horses! More of these short films please, Netflix.