We’ve all seen the messages that pop up before movies, stating that no animal was hurt in the creation of the film. But have you ever wondered just how film sets keep the equine actors safe during filming? Luckily for horses, the American Humane Society has a strict set of rules and regulations that producers must follow whenever equine actors are present on the set. Here’s a brief overview of the rules that keep horses safe.


The American Humane Society’s guidelines list many rules which must be followed before horses can be used in filming. These rules require specified supplies, such as water buckets, to be on-set with the horses. They also outline acceptable standards for living quarters for the horses during the filming’s duration. The rules give the American Humane Society specific access to the set so that representatives may check on the wellbeing of the animals

During Filming

There are many rules that must be followed during filming. Rules prohibit certain situations, like fights between animals (fights must be simulated), and the use of any makeups or dyes which may be harmful to the horse’s health. Producers must have a plan in place to prevent horses from getting loose on the set, and these plans must be approved by the Humane Society. Horses must be examined for any potential injuries on a daily basis, and if they are injured or ill, they must receive veterinary treatment and approval before they can again participate in filming.

If horses are to be used in stunt scenes, there are specifications for the preparation of the scenes, including thoroughly desensitizing the horses to explosions, noises, and other effects that they may come into contact with. Skid boots or other safety measures are mandatory to keep the horses safe if they’ll be traveling on slick terrain, no tripping devices are allowed, and branding scenes have to be simulated.

While the guidelines are far too large and detailed to fully cover here, they’re incredibly comprehensive and well thought-out. If you’re interested in learning more, then feel free to check them out. (The equine-specific section begins on page 75.)

Image Source: americanhumane.org