Friday Flicks: Jane Seymour in the driver’s seat

Did you know that actress Jane Seymour is a driving enthusiast? HN’s intrepid film critic/celebrity stalker Amanda Ronan learns more.

From Amanda:

Jane Seymour’s love for riding began during the filming of The Four Feathers (1977), co-starring Beau Bridges, in which she had to ride completely sidesaddle.


She told the authors of People We Know, Horses They Love:

Growing up as a ballerina, I felt very comfortable turning my spine toward the direction the horse was moving while leaving my legs on the left-hand side. Riding in this position made me feel very safe; if the horse reared around, I was firmly attached to the middle of the saddle and wasn’t sliding off of the front or the back. I could canter and gallop in full period costume.”

Jane starred with Christopher Reeve in the 1980 movie Somewhere in Time, filmed on Mackinac Island in Michigan. During the entire shoot, the actors and film crew had to travel via carriage because no cars were allowed on the island. “The film had a wonderful leisurely pace about it, as the crew could only go as fast or slow as the horses could carry the equipment from one location to the next.


In Jamaica Inn (1983), Jane met a horse named James which she would end up buying as filming wrapped. “In the movie he was ridden by another actor, but at the end of project I bought both him and the castle in England where we were filming,” she says. “James was really a film horse when we got him, but soon that steed became a member of our family.”


Jane’s time spent on Somewhere in Time and Jamaica Inn would begin a lifelong passion for driving horses, which Jane showcased even further in her pivotal role on the TV series, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. She recalls, “Almost every day of shooting I’d be on that wagon. I’ve driven four-in-hand and actually attempted six-in-hand once, which was pretty impossible given the size of my hands.”

Authors of People We Know, Horses They Love caught up with Jane at the Bony Pony Ranch where she drove her horse and wagon from Dr. Quinn one more time.


It was interesting that the producers never even asked me if I knew how to ride a horse before they cast me in the starring role. In that first week I had to canter and be accosted by Indians on a tiny path where all the horses were rearing and charging around me. I thought it was very amusing.”

Film riding is very different from regular riding. You can’t go gently from a walk to a trot to a canter but have to charge out from behind a tree at full gallop, stop on a dime at your mark, and then recite a few pages of dialogue. I became good at that kind of precision driving and could land my horses and buggy on exactly the right spot.”


Go Jane! Go Driving!

Source: Rappaport, Jill, Wendy Wilkinson, and Linda Solomon. People We Know, Horses They Love. [Emmaus, Pennsylvania]: Rodale, 2004. Print


Amanda’s experience with horses is just as eclectic as her taste in movies.  She has dabbled in almost every discipline from eventing to team penning to fox hunting.  She started riding when she was 8 with her local 4-H club in Western performance events.  She moved on to the AQHA circuit with her Quarter Horse, “Aggie,” when she was 12 and he was a green 2 year old.  Through college she held a working student position at Seahorse Sporthorses, owned by Terri Adams, where she was introduced to the wonderful world of show jumping and eventing.  Along with Aggie, who just turned 20 years old, she has two OTTBs in her herd named “Gump” and “Lizard.”  Amanda continues her jumping training with Ms. Adams and works on that necessary evil also known as dressage with Mimi Burch of Blue Moon Farm.

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