Riding Double

Fill in for Actors during horse riding scenes.

What does a Riding Double do?

Riding a horse isn’t as simple as riding a bicycle. While a bicycle obeys your commands as long as they’re clear, a horse might choose to argue the point. An Actor without extensive horseback-riding skills can look quite foolish perched on top of an out-of-control horse. Luckily, a Riding Double can stand in for him, fooling the audience into believing that he is a master of all things horse.

If you’re a Riding Double looking for work, you’ll be chosen for your horseback skills, but you should also be about the same height and weight as the Actor. This makes you an ideal Stand-In when the Director is placing lights around the scene. As a Riding Double, you sit on top of the horse and stay quite still so the Director can make sure the Actor’s face is well lit when the camera is rolling.

This can take quite a long time, but you take over the task with skill and patience, allowing the Actor to spend more time in the makeup chair.

After putting on your costume, which is identical to the Actor’s, you hop on the horse and perform the movie’s long shots. For example, you may ride the horse along a field while the camera is far away, gallop at high speeds for a chase scene, or perform stunts on the horse, picking up damsels in distress or rescuing stranded calves from running streams.

Since you’re trying to pretend that you’re the Actor, you study him closely, imitating his gestures, posture, and expressions. The Riding Double applies all of these things to your work and suppress your own personality. Your job as a Riding Double is to blend in, not stand out.