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Author Topic: Clint's first riding lessons  (Read 1091 times)
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« on: February 25, 2021, 02:56:06 PM »

bhorner, a new member on the Web Board, recently asked me via PM whether anyone knew how Clint learned to ride. With his permission, I'd like to share some excerpts from our PMs:

bhorner asked:
Does anyone know who taught Mr. Eastwood how to ride? I have a friend that worked the studios and refers to him and others on riding lessons.

I answered:
According to Richard Schickel in his biography Clint Eastwood (p. 75), Clint learned to ride while he was a participant in Universal's talent program back in the early 1950s. Riding was among the accomplishments the young actors were expected to learn, and they had classes every week. Clint learned fast. Schickel says:
His favorite place was the [Universal Studios] back lot, one of the most extensive in the industry, with some of its sets dating back to silent-picture days. "You could go out anytime you wanted to and check out the horseback riding. I didn't know how to ride, so I'd go riding with the old wranglers--hung out with them." His report cards show Clint moving into the advanced group of riders quite quickly, and before long he was checking out horses and heading alone into the hills southeast of the studio ... In the fifties, before the studio tour, and before the hotels and the Universal amphitheater were built on this land, it remained a wilderness: "Deer back in there?I'd run up there on horseback, and coyotes would be running across the road. It was really remote. It was really terrific!"

To this, bhorner replied:
Ernest Velarde was a wrangler during that time frame. Ernest son Richard Velarde and I are family and Richard often tells stories how his dad gave riding lesson to actors such as Mr. Eastwood ... Always enjoy listening to stories from him referring to the movies they worked on.

A nice story, thanks, bhorner!
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