Such stunts are not just performed by the stuntman or stuntwoman; the horse also has to go through a long training first. Mravik prefers to work with his own horse, the 18-year-old Huba. “Even his parents were stunt horses and so he has great ability. In addition to that, he has been with me since he was born. I have been working with him since he was small to be able to shoot films together.”

The result speaks for itself: the two colleagues have worked together in countless diverse films and live shows. Large productions are demanding for both the horse and the rider.

In good times and bad times

However, you have to find a good horse first. Huba is a lucky one, who was so to say genetically pre-selected for a career in the film industry. It’s not always that easy for Mravik to find good “training material”. He has been looking for a second horse for ages but it’s really difficult, he says.

For one, its external characteristics, such as its hair colour and height are decisive. Mravik is 1.82 metres tall, so for him a horse with a shoulder height of 1.60 metres is ideal, since “it’s important how high I have to pull myself up when performing a stunt”.

However, what is even more important is the mental reliability of the animal. “When you are shooting a film everything is loud and hectic. We fight, weapons are booming. It’s simply crazy how many impressions a horse has to suffer there.”

It’s extremely important for the animal to have a calm temper and be trained for all the tricks and stunts, and loud noises. The key to success is that the rider and horse form a single unit and the horse only concentrates on the rider. This takes a lot of time and even more patience.


#


Starting place for future talents

There is no such thing as “too early” for future stuntmen and stuntwomen. Mravik’s young daughter Luca is a good example, the primary school student being already confident in the saddle and performing her first tricks.

Mravik likes to teach and he says: “The most important thing is that working with the horse should never look like hard work. As we say, it should not smell of sweat.” And it’s true that when you watch him jump from the saddle with a broad smile or running along the galloping Huba to jump back into the saddle, it all looks so easy that you are tempted to believe it’s only a game.

However, the experienced stuntman has clearly exerted himself as he gets his breath after completing his stunts, although no one can see that on his face during the show. He practises a lot to achieve this, winning over his own self all the time and saddling up even in bad weather.

The horse also needs to be motivated to learn and work constantly. “Horses are lazy by nature. For this reason it’s very variable how long a training session lasts, sometimes only 20 minutes, sometimes three hours.”

Some horses are quicker to learn than others, “but once the animal understands what I want and does it too, the work for the day is done.” If you let it return to the open field after training, the horse will quickly understand what it needs to do in order to be left alone.

However, Mravik only finishes the training once the horse has done its job.” If he lacks patience and does not finish up, the next time it will take twice as long to have your way with the animal.


#


Right now he is training a young mare owned by a Hungarian family who live in Germany. Their teenage daughter will ride her later but the horse is not completely trained yet. A colleague began working with her in Germany but at the end he lacked the patience. The mare was always the last one he was dealing with at the end of each day.”

So now the mare is being trained by Mravik. “Working with horses is like being in a relationship. At first it’s all sunshine and happiness, everything is going well. However, with time you learn about the other one’s quirks and peculiarities. Then you need patience to get over these difficulties.”

An example from his professional past underlines how important training is for a stunt horse. At live show he had not been warned that fireworks would be set off, but fortunately the animal was trained not to be frightened.

So the most important thing he is teaching Huba is to trust him as his rider, “so I can ride him across flames as high as a man and it does not disturb him, or when things are popping around him and other horses are not annoying him either”.

Even a strange rider is not a problem for a well-trained animal. Normally Mravik rides Huba when they are shooting a film but if actor or another stuntman needs to step in, it is no problem for the horse.

He makes sure he rides different horses from time to time himself, so that he does not forget how to adjust. “Sometimes I only have five minutes to gain a horse’s trust before filming. If I would always only ride Huba, this would be simply an impossible task.”

Not only a stuntman, a teacher too

Despite his passion he stunts, Mravik is slowly considering a change and concentrating more on teaching. He already has some students and two brothers he taught are contracted by Hungarian television.

“However, the number of people who end up giving up is very high, since many of them underestimate how much work and effort it takes to become a horse stuntman.” And not only injuries and muscle pain are in store for the “cascadeur”, as the Hungarian job description puts it.


#


Mravik is a strict advocate of the view that you have to work hard for success. Learning from him involves not only daredevil tricks but also giving the animal much care and attention. The students brush, saddle up and wash their horses themselves. They learn on Huba, whose calm nature is perfect for beginners.

People say that a dog and its owner becoming more and more similar over the years, and this seems to be true for Mravik who, just like Huba, seems to have never-ending patience. His blue eyes only light up when he is talking about horses and the training of these noble animals. It’s not sufficient for him to learn the tricks; he sees the animal and the human as one unit.


To see Mravik’a skills for yourself, look for shows by the Equestrian Stunt Team. He is available for riding and stunt lessons at the L-Ranch in Őrbottyán among other places.

www.facebook.com/Equestrian-Stunt-Team

www.facebook.com/lranchhorsemanship

mravik.janos@gmail.com

Loading Conversation

RELATED POSTS
The news that made headlines

The Brief History of the Week

Geschrieben von BT

Presenting in one concise package the week’s most important and fascinating national stories,…

ComiX Coffee in District V

Inmates running the asylum?

Geschrieben von Attila Leitner

Briton Ben Innes became the very definition of cool on Tuesday. In case you missed this, the…

Protests, no apologies as government-teachers dispute widens

Fight of the roundtables

Geschrieben von BT

The civil public education platform representing the teachers’ movement, which calls itself an…