Taking the Reins
A reckless equestrian struggles through personal and professional setbacks to try to make history as the youngest winner of the elite Rolex championship, but his destructive personality poses the biggest obstacle to claiming the title.
Horse fanciers. They’re an extremely enthusiastic group. For those who love horses, the fascination colors much of their world. Which isn’t surprising. Horses are powerful and elegant, not to mention an integral aspect of human development for centuries.
Throughout the history of cinema, a number of classic movies have been made about these majestic creatures. National Velvet. Sea Biscuit. The Black Stallion. Black Beauty. Flicka. Even animated movies such as Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron have made it to the silver screen.
Often focused on the strong, symbiotic bond developed between horse and owner, many of these films have revolved around the Old West. Or that familiar horse related sport – racing.
But there’s more far more to horses than just the Kentucky Derby. Covering such exotic challenges as dressage and jumps, equestrian eventing may be lesser known than horse racing. But it’s equally competitive; with quite the passionate fanbase. Given that, it’s surprising no film has focused on this aspect of horse related sports. Only Sylvester touched on eventing. And only briefly.
But that’s where Taking the Reins comes in….
As the script opens, we meet 25 year old Will Ranck and his horse, Hemingway. Though relatively new to eventing, Will and Hemingway show great promise. Except for a few minor problems. First and foremost, Will’s dead broke. Then there’s the issue of his mother – a skilled eventer in her own right, she died two years ago at the hands of a drunk driver (his employer’s spoiled son, Terrance). Will’s taken to the bottle and bar fights since then, reducing his chance at success even more. Things go from bad to worse when Will’s fired from his job, and his father moves away… leaving Will to succeed or fail on his own.
Through a combination of fast-talk and dumb luck, Will secures a gig at Cross Meadows Farm, training with expert eventer Katheryn Brooks. Needless to say, things don’t go smoothly. Many of the riders on Katheryn’s team view Will as an unworthy interloper – making social integration less than easy. But despite the hurdles*, Will pushes ahead. Cutting a deal with the devil – his ex-boss – Will earns a slot in the Jersey Fresh competition. And his relationship with Cari, one of Katheryn’s riders, is just starting to heat up.
Then he qualifies for the ultimate competion – the Olympics of Eventing, Rolex. Things seem to be finally going Will’s way. At least, until Terrance pulls the sponsorship from under him, leaving Rolex and glory out of reach. Can Will overcome his obstacles and grasp the brass ring…. Or will he and Hemingway be left in the dust?
Custom-made for the festival circuit, Taking the Reins is unique. Set in a cinematic world that hasn’t been done-to-death, Reins is a classic “underdog” story: complete with romance and horses.
Several prominent people within the equestrian community have already expressed an interest in seeing a film like this get made. Matched to the right production company, this is a script with a ready-made fan base. What more could an indie director ask for? Option and purchase rights are, of course, available.
* Readers of STS: please forgive the pun
About the writer: Rick Hansberry has written/produced several short films, including the SAG Foundation award-winning “Branches.” He teaches screenwriting seminars and workshops in the Central Pennsylvania area and is presently available for hire for new story ideas, rewrites and adaptations. He can be reached at djrickhansberry – AT – msn, (cell phone 717-682-8618) and IMDB credits available here.
Rick’s first feature Alienate just released a new terrific trailer – available for viewing here: http://www.alienatemovie.com/.
Budget: Medium. Needless to say, a director would need access to horses and an eventing competition field. But other than that, there are no exotic locations that would put a script like this out of budgetary reach.
READ THE SCRIPT HERE – AND DON’T FORGET TO COMMENT!!
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