Just watched Concrete Cowboys on Netflix

I always have high hopes for horse movies that are reliably dashed, this movie being no exception. It followed the typical formula: Wayward kid tames wild horse, lots of whinnies and nickers, etc.

It was an interesting look into the Philly cowboy/cowgirl lifestyle, though, with actual people from the neighborhood playing several of the main roles.

Anyone else’s thoughts?

I have it saved but have not worked up the nerve to watch it. My fear is that it will accurately show how these horses are kept and ridden and I don’t think I could bear it.

You might want to skip it then… :frowning:

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Unsaved it. Thanks for taking one for the team so you could warn others.

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Honestly, I try to watch things with an open mind, even if it is something I can’t support, like the standard of care those horses get. However, given the subject matter, I was hoping for a more honest approach, rather than shoehorning it into the standard Hollywood horse story template. Just substitute a ranch (that’s about to be lost due to taxes) with a ramshackle stable in Philly, and an angst-ridden teenage girl with an angst-ridden teenage boy, and you’ve got the gist.

For me living in the Philly area, I don’t see their living arrangements. But I see video from locals who think it is cool to see them jerked around with huge, severe bits while being run on pavement with long, long shod feet in a saddle that doesn’t fit. It is hard to see that glamorized while the NYC carriage horses, whose standard of care and handling is light years better, are being vilified. Okay, off my soapbox, hahaha.


I think it’s hard to write fiction or make films about horses that are accurate to the experience of working with horses. Documentaries can be better at that.

When you work with and experience a horse, it’s very internal between you and the horse. If you want to make a fictional account for a general audience, you need to refocus the story on the human interactions. And then the film or story is really about people with horses as background. And often enough, the writers go cheap and rote on the storyline.

It’s also going to be near impossible to set up and film a real nuanced interaction between some actor and some movie horse.

Ever notice that every “bad spook” in films shows a horse rearing in a spectacular yet controlled way, and the stunt rider sliding off and lying inert on the ground? That’s because how would you train and rehearse and cue a genuine leap sideways duck buck and spin? And if you could, much more uncontrolled and dangerous for the stunt rider.

hmm intresting review. def gonna watch the show on a weekend.

The book it was based upon was recommended to me by a children’s librarian friend who knows I write horse fiction and ride, but I haven’t read it yet. She’s not a horse person, though. Has anyone read the original book on which it was based? I’m disappointed if that’s the case about the film, because I was going to watch it if I ever resubscribed to Netflix.

I’d have to disagree that there isn’t wonderful horse fiction out there, though–the James Herriot books, Jean Slaughter Doty, The Horsemasters, the marvelous British pony genre, as well as plenty of other wonderful contemporary authors. I don’t want to derail the thread, though.

I do agree there are often logistical difficulties, however, in making FILMS about horses, which can be very expensive, and the audience of people who understand all the nuances is fairly small to justify the outlay. Racing films seem a bit easier, because they can always doctor track footage, and show the races from a distance (plus, the scoring of the sport is easier for an outsider to understand).

Yeah sorry, even the sight of Idris Elba on a horse can’t save this one - although it does help! :wink:


Some of those bullfighting horse moves could be mistaken as teleports, so it can be trained. The way those horses move, I’d love to (try to, haha) sit on one someday.

I just have to add the Fortune’s Fool series to your list. :heart:

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Yes, that’s true, there is some good fiction out there.

Oh thank you so much @Garythesquirrel! :heart_eyes:

And I swear I wasn’t trying to spam, but I do think there is a great deal of wonderful fiction about horses (and animals) out there, and it certainly inspired me to write my own.

But I also agree that the nuances of the human-animal connection don’t often make it to the screen. Even the first two seasons of the old All Creatures Great and Small–which I loved, and which are probably as good as it gets–focused on the human relationships much more than the books.

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I read the book it was based on, Ghetto Cowboy, and recall enjoying it. It’s been a long time since I read it so I don’t remember how accurate it was on the horse stuff (though generally I’m pretty picky on horse books & movies so if it doesn’t stand out in my brain as being obnoxious that’s probably a good sign) but I apparently gave it 4/5 stars on Goodreads for whatever that’s worth.

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I will read the book–which is what I usually end up doing with just about everything!

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