With his blue eyes and snow-coloured coat, Nanneella horse Sinatra has looks worthy of a fairytale.RHIANNON GAVALAKIS April 15, 2014 3:20am
Cremello gelding Sinatra and horse trainer Steve Cox welcome Amy McGenniskin as she walks down the aisle to marry Nick Hayes. Picture: Michelle Cox
Horse trainer Steve Cox has educated the Cremello gelding to perform as a trick horse for bridal photo shoots and hopefully for television commercials as well.
‘‘It’s just an idea I had a few years ago and it took (more than a year) to find the right horse. We bought him in Apollo Bay,’’ Mr Cox said.
‘‘I had looked at about 100 horses; I looked at him for 10 seconds and I knew he was the one.’’
Mr Cox said it was a combination of Sinatra’s unique look, calm temperament and even a touch of charisma that made him perfect for the job.
‘‘You don’t have to be around him for very long before you start grinning, he has a lot of character,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve taken about a year to train him for weddings, to make sure he knows what he is doing and, when he does, to make sure it is really safe.’’
He started with small movements, broken down into 10 steps.
‘‘When he moves the right way, you just reward, and go from there,’’ Mr Cox said.
‘‘There is a lot of satisfaction in working with the horses, they give you as much back as you give them; you become a team.’’
Mr Cox has trained ‘liberty’ horses for entertainment shows for about 10 years, and learned from one of the best in the game: the well-known Heath Harris, who trains horses for the film industry.
‘‘Liberty is when you turn your horse free and work multiple horses off one horse, it’s all choreographed and they don’t have any bridle and saddle on them,’’ Mr Cox said.
Whenever there is enough room on the float on the way to a show, Sinatra goes along as well, to gain exposure to different environments.
In December this year, Sinatra will travel to Toorak in inner-city Melbourne to perform at a wedding ceremony at St Joseph’s Church.
‘‘We are really excited to do that one,’’ Mr Cox said.
‘‘The couple told the priest of the church what they wanted to do — they didn’t think they would be allowed to have a horse there.
‘‘But the priest is really excited to have a horse on the grounds as well; it might not have ever happened before.’’
Mr Cox said there had also been interest for Sinatra for television commercials, and he would wait to see if that came to fruition.
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