The horse is one of the most commonly used animals in filmmaking and, for that reason, we generally use the term “horse” in the following sections. These guidelines pertain to all equines.
ADVISORY: American Humane’s Guidelines for the Safe Use of Animals in Filmed Media apply to all horses and livestock without regard to their prominence or insignificance to the production. This includes anyone bringing an animal to the set, including privately owned animals furnished to the production by historic re-enactors, other private suppliers, stunt personnel, directors or any other members of the cast or crew.
For safety and efficiency, American Humane recommends that producers hire animal handlers experienced in motion picture production to supply all horses and livestock for production. However, if production chooses to have private owners (including cast and crew) provide horses and livestock, all requirements of the Guidelines must be implemented. When applicable, producers shall distribute in advance the instruction sheet on “Special Requirements for Extras/Others Who Supply Animals.”
In productions involving large numbers of animals (e.g., historic re-enactments), a responsible “chain of command” shall be established to coordinate the work during production. The chain-of-command information shall be provided to American Humane. The designated “commander” of each unit will be directly responsible for the conduct of the people and the care of the animals under his/her supervision.
ADVISORY: American Humane discourages the use of Mexican fighting bulls for filming, due to their unpredictable temperament. Contact American Humane for prior approval in using Mexican fighting bulls. Because of their unpredictable temperament, innate aggression and heightened reaction to movement, additional safety precautions should be in place.
8-52 Sufficient barns and/or pens must be made available so that horses or livestock from different herds or flocks and/or geographical regions can be housed separately. The housing must be completed before the animals arrive.
8-53 When housing or filming horses in panel pens, panels must be “horse friendly” and connected so that no gaps remain between panels that would allow a horse to get its leg, head or neck caught in the gap. There should be no sharp edges or points in the pens, and connecting devices such as bolts or slide bolts shall be positioned away from or on the outside of the pen.
8-54 The manner in which horses and other livestock are housed shall take into account their ages and the climates to which the animals are accustomed.
8-55 Reasonable and adequate overnight rest and shelter to protect horses from the elements shall be provided.
8-56 Horse and livestock feed decisions shall take into consideration such factors as the animals’ customary diet, changing climates and working conditions.
Tack, Training and Cueing Equipment
8-57 Whenever possible, western rowel spur use should be simulated by a combination of establishing shots and the substitution of flexible rubber spurs. At no time shall spurs with locked rowels be used. At no time shall spurs with a diameter of more than 1 inch be used (rubber props are exempt). Spurs should have a minimum of five points. Sharp spurs are not allowed. It shall be at the sole discretion of American Humane to make decisions regarding the use of spurs.
NOTE: English cue spurs do not have points. They have one piece of metal, normally blunt or rounded, and are acceptable when used appropriately.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, use of sharp spurs is prohibited.
8-58 All equipment and tack shall be safe and serviceable. Before and after every use, all tack and harnesses must be thoroughly inspected for any damage or wear that could potentially cause injury to either the horse or rider.
8-59 At no time shall bits with severe mouthpieces and/or excessively long shanks be used on any film set. If these types of bits must be used on an animal, the animal is not suitable for work on a film set.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, use of severe bits is prohibited.
8-60 American Humane supports humane training methods. An American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative must observe any pre-production training and/or rehearsals prior to approving any methods used to cause a horse to limp. A licensed equine veterinarian must be on set before and during any type of filming which could be construed as a violation of the federal “soring” laws.
8-61* Pursuant to the Federal Horse Protection Act, an animal handler shall not use any device, equipment or practice on any horse that affects its gait.
The use of the following is NOT permitted:
a. An irritating agent or blistering agent applied internally or externally by a person to any limb of a horse.
b. Any burn, cut or laceration inflicted by a person on any limb of a horse.
c. Any nail, tack, screw, chemical agent or any other substance or device injected or used by a person on any limb of a horse — or any practice — that causes a horse to suffer, or that can reasonably be expected to cause suffering, physical pain, distress, inflammation or lameness to a horse when walking, trotting or otherwise moving.
d. Any practice that alters or “sets” the tails of horses from their natural carriage.
8-62 Training and/or cueing equipment, such as muzzles, paddles, whips, stock sticks, etc., and other devices must be used safely and humanely under the supervision of American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representatives.
a. The use of nails, tacks, screws or other sharp instruments for training or cueing an animal is prohibited.
b. Horses and livestock shall be trained, conditioned and prepped prior to wearing hobbles. Any horse or livestock that struggles shall be excluded.
c. Horses and livestock shall not be struck in the face by whips, even for the purpose of cueing.
8-63 The use of electric stimulation devices, such as shock collars, prods, pocket prods or any other similar devices, is not permitted by American Humane as a humane training device and is not permitted during performance. However, should the safety of an animal be better served by the use of a remote-command device, particularly when livestock are used in remote locations, that device and its use must have prior approval by American Humane and be supervised by American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representatives.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, the use of prods and other electric stimulation devices is prohibited.
8-64 Lead ropes may not be allowed to drag. Should a scene require a “loose” horse with a dragging rope or reins, a breakaway mechanism must be used and demonstrated prior to filming. Horses and livestock shall be prepped, trained and conditioned to the breakaway mechanism.
8-65 Horses should never be left unattended or unsecured in a manner that would be unsafe or uncomfortable for the animals. Animals shall not be left in the care of a person who is inexperienced in the care of those types of animals.
8-66 Each horse will be thoroughly inspected for saddle and girth sores and other injuries after each use and at the end of the day. It is the responsibility of the rider, wrangler and/or owner, and coordinator to ensure that this is done. Horses with saddle and girth sores shall not be used until healed.
8-67 Horses should be trimmed or shod appropriately for the action required. The factors to be considered include the breed and size of the horses, the action to be performed, and the terrain and surface on which they will be working. Horses working on cement or asphalt should wear borium, borium-tipped, rubber or other appropriate shoes.
8-68 Horses and livestock used on sets should be calm, well-behaved and controllable in all situations at all times. Any animals that are not trained, prepared and conditioned to perform the required action shall be removed.
a. Horses and/or livestock must be properly trained to function around large crowds, in tight formations and under gunfire, as well as tolerate being kept on a picket line in close proximity to other horses.
b. Horses and/or livestock should not be “head shy” and shall function well with other horses and/or livestock.
c. Geldings are preferable. For practical purposes, the use of mares is acceptable but discouraged. No stallions should be used without American Humane’s approval.
d. No pregnant or lactating horse or livestock shall participate in strenuous activity or stunts such as stampedes, rodeos and/or extensive running scenes.
e. No horse under the age of 4 years shall participate in horse-racing scenes.
8-69 Horses shall, at a minimum, be trained to halter and lead calmly and accept human handling without fear or stress. Horses must be accustomed to handling in order to prevent stress and accidents with other horses and livestock, cast and crew. (Also see the Rodeo guidelines in this chapter for rodeo stock requirements.)
8-70 Prior to and after each day’s use, all horses are to be thoroughly groomed, especially in the head, neck and saddle area, and have their hooves picked.
8-71 There shall be no unnecessary riding or running horses while off-camera. The return to base camp after filming must be orderly — racing back to camp is not allowed.
8-72 To ensure that horses receive adequate rest time, horsemen shall stand down (dismount) between setups, saving the horses’ backs. Sitting on the horses for long periods between filming shall not be allowed.
8-73 Care must be taken to prevent horses and livestock from being overworked. This can be accomplished in the following ways:
a. American Humane recommends that production be proactive when choosing times or seasons in which to film animals. It is not recommended to film in the hottest or coldest times of year in areas where heat or cold may become an animal-safety issue.
b. Maintain a sufficient supply of ice and water at the filming location to be used to cool horses and livestock during times of extreme heat.
c. Film in early morning or late afternoon, when temperatures are lower, during times of extreme heat.
d. During periods of extreme heat, provide adequate shade for horses and livestock.
e. Film during the warmest part of the day during periods of extreme cold.
f. Provide animals with wind breaks and heaters during cold weather.
g. Limit rehearsals and takes.
h. Provide sufficient rest periods between takes.
i. Provide a sufficient supply of backup animals so the animals can be rotated.
j. Have an adequate number of animal handlers available to provide cooling or warming to the animals.
8-74 Horses and livestock should have access to water both on and off set, have access to shade in extreme heat, and have adequate rest periods equal to or greater than their working time.
a. If the filming location is different from the staging area, production must be sensitive to the necessity for water breaks. When applicable, fresh, treated water must be supplied when animals come from different regions.
b. It is not acceptable to walk horses a long distance back to base camp to sufficiently water them or provide shade. Shade and water must be provided on set during periods of extreme weather and with consideration to the horses’ length of time on the set.
8-75 Other than designated cast members, only experienced animal handlers may work with livestock or ride horses on a production.
8-76 No cast members, extras or animal handlers shall be allowed to ride or work with a horse unless they have adequate riding skills and horse knowledge. At a minimum, all riders must be skilled enough not to jerk or twist the horse’s mouth. It is the producer’s responsibility to ensure that cast members obtain adequate training to prevent such unintentional cruelty.
8-77 Anyone required to ride on a production must first be auditioned by the wrangler boss to determine his/her riding ability. Productions, animal handlers and American Humane shall work collaboratively to ensure that people required to ride are qualified to perform the action required.
a. Only riders from the approved wrangler boss list may be hired.
b. Production must provide adequate lead time for such demonstration and determination prior to filming. American Humane will have final approval of the skill, knowledge and physical limitations of any rider.
8-78 Spectators and crew should be discouraged from petting, handling or feeding horses and livestock. Never, under any circumstances, should anyone other than the owner or person designated to perform such activities be allowed to mount/ride or feed horses or livestock.
8-79 Whenever a large group of horses and/or livestock is used for a particular scene, especially when they are brought together from different areas, American Humane may inspect the animals and check appropriate documentation, including health certificates and Coggins tests.
a. A veterinarian shall be present to give each horse a basic health examination before it comes in contact with the other horses.
b. Animals must be adequately trained, conditioned and prepped for use on a film set. American Humane has the jurisdiction to remove any animals deemed unfit for use.
8-80 When a scene calls for the filming of a “herd,” untrained animals may be used — provided the herd is pre-existing, is located on familiar terrain, and there is a safety plan in place to prevent animals from escaping or deviating from the intended path. When a herd will be controlled/moved by outriders, the outriders shall be familiar with that particular herd. (Also see Guideline 1-36.)
8-81 Horses and livestock shall not be allowed to escape the set or location. Production and the animal handler must have a safety plan in place that will prevent animals from escaping the set or location and/or deviating from the animals’ intended path. Production and the animal handler shall also have a safety plan in place for an animal’s safe recapture should an accident or escape occur. American Humane shall approve these safety plans prior to filming. The requirements of the safety plans shall be determined by the training, conditioning and preparation of an animal, and if the animals used are confined, loose and/or liberty animals. (Also see Guideline 1-36.)
8-82 No drugs, including anesthetics, sedatives and chemical laxatives, may be administered to an animal for the purpose of filmmaking.
a. Under certain circumstances, and with prior approval by both American Humane and the animal’s veterinarian, the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be permitted.
b. At no time shall an animal be used which has been administered a drug to conceal any defects or lameness of the animal.
c. The practice of nerve-blocking an animal for performance is prohibited.
ADVISORY: Sedatives induce behavioral changes that render a horse quiet, calm and relatively indifferent to its surroundings. Clinical signs of tranquilization include lowering of the head and extension of the neck, relaxation and drooping of the lower lip, and slight prolapse of the third eyelid. Males may exhibit protrusion of the penis, which could lead to injury. Additionally, some horses may exhibit excitation, sweating, trembling and convulsions. Repeated doses can cause renal failure. Older horses, horses suffering from heat stress, draft horses and ponies are more susceptible to complications from sedation.
The most common sedative is Acepromazine (Atravet®, PromAce®).Overdose can cause excessive sedation, slow respiratory and heart rate, pale gums, unsteady gait, poor coordination, and inability to stand, and may cause sudden collapse, unconsciousness, seizures and death.
Acepromazine can be detected in the blood for 36-120 hours after dosage, although repeated doses may make it detectable for several months.
8-83 Hitching rails shall be fastened in the ground in such a manner that the tugging of a frightened horse cannot pull them loose (e.g., sleeve installation). On stage, hitching rails shall be bolted or fastened in a rigid manner. (Also see Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Safety Bulletin #6, “Animal Handling Rules for the Motion Picture Industry,” paragraph 11. For stampedes, also see the Stampedes and Large Groups of Horses and Livestock guidelines in this chapter.)
Horse/Livestock Stunts and Strenuous Equine Action (Also see Chapter 7, Stunts.)
American Humane shall consider any animal performance intense or a stunt when the performance involves great effort or activity of an animal, and/or provides for a degree of potential risk to the animal.
Production, including the stunt coordinator, shall work collaboratively with the animal handler and American Humane to ensure the safety of horses and livestock. When stunts involve horses and livestock, it is ultimately the responsibility of the animal handler and American Humane to determine if the stunt is safe for horses and livestock.
American Humane field personnel are trained and experienced and shall be considered a part of a production’s safety team, ensuring a collaborative effort for the safety and welfare of the animals. Being a part of pre-production resolves many issues on set. Contact American Humane early in pre-production when animals will be involved in stunts.
- When stunts involve animals in water, see Water Safety in Chapter 5.
- When insert vehicles are used, see Insert Vehicle Safety in Chapter 5.
- When depicting rodeo scenes, see the Rodeo guidelines in this chapter.
ADVISORY: When filming intense action or when filming in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit — especially if humidity is present — production and animal handlers must recognize that horses are susceptible to three serious conditions:
- Heat exhaustion
- Heat stroke
Environmental temperature alone is a poor indicator of an animal’s comfort or stress. Humidity, airflow, length of exposure, terrain, breed, hair coat, age, weight, health status and acclimation of the animal all figure in the assessment of the conditions. Access to water and shade, and a means of cooling horses and livestock, shall be available, as stated in the following guidelines.
8-84 Any intense animal action, including (but not limited to) chase or running scenes, must be staged to prevent animals from being overworked. Special care must be taken when working in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit, especially if humidity is present. The following factors should be considered:
a. American Humane recommends that production be proactive when choosing times or seasons in which to film animals. It is not recommended to film in the hottest or coldest times of the year/day in areas where heat or cold may become an animal-safety issue.
b. Film these scenes in early morning or late afternoon, when temperatures are lower, during periods of extreme heat.
c. If animals do not return to a normal resting respiration within a reasonable amount of time, they should be removed and not allowed to run again.
d. Maintain a sufficient supply of ice and water at the filming location to be used to cool horses and livestock.
e. Provide horses and livestock with shade.
f. Film these scenes during the warmest part of the day during periods of extreme cold.
g. Provide horses and livestock with windbreaks and heaters during cold weather.
h. Limit rehearsals and takes.
i. Provide sufficient rest periods between takes.
j. Provide a sufficient supply of backup animals so the animals can be rotated.
k. Have an adequate number of animal handlers available to provide cooling or warming to the animals.
8-85 Animal handlers and/or veterinarians on set must have a rectal thermometer available, should the need arise to monitor a horse’s temperature. Should an animal’s temperature rise above normal limits, the animal will be removed from use and not allowed to return to work for at least 24 hours with veterinarian approval.
8-86* American Humane field personnel shall closely monitor all strenuous animal action for:
a. Any signs of stress and/or tiring of the animals.
b. Any change in environmental, climatic or man-made factors which may affect the outcome of the stunt/intense animal action. (See Guideline 1-23, Unauthorized Shot.)
c. Any breach of the federal Animal Welfare Act and/or any state and local animal welfare laws and regulations which clearly state that no animal shall be put at risk, overridden, overdriven, overloaded or ill-treated. Any violation will be reported.
8-86.1 PROHIBITED USE:
a. No pregnant or lactating horses or livestock shall participate in stunts or strenuous activity.
b. No horse under the age of 4 years shall participate in horse-racing scenes.
c. No tripping devices, wires or pitfalls are permitted for use with any animal. (Also see Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Safety Bulletin #6, “Animal Handling Rules for the Motion Picture Industry,” paragraph 10.)
d. Branding of animals must be simulated. No actual branding is allowed.
e. Bullfights, as well as scenes depicting the death of an animal, shall be simulated. (Also see Guidelines 1-28 and 1-28.1.)
8-87 When filming horses or livestock lying down, production must prepare the ground by making sure all rocks and other debris are removed. The ground should be softened by the use of peat, sand or other soft substance and/or by digging up the ground.
8-88 Horse jumps or falls into water should not be from a height of more than 6 feet. Horses must be properly trained to perform these stunts. The water depth must be adequate to safely cushion the fall. Appropriate underwater footing must be provided, and the exit pathway must also provide secure and stable footing.
8-89 In horse-jumping scenes, the top rails of the jumps should be “breakaway,” “fall-away” or made of scored balsa wood.
8-90 For jumping, lie down and rearing scenes, the number of jumps/rears allowed and the duration of a lie down will be dependent upon the action, the animal’s skill and condition, and other environmental factors.
8-91 Sliding or riding down sandbanks or earth slides should be done only by experienced riders on experienced horses.
8-92 Only trained falling horses shall be used to perform horse falls; only trained jumping horses shall be used in jumping scenes; and only trained rearing horses shall be used in rearing scenes. Rearing horses must not be pulled over backwards.
8-93 For running horse/livestock falls, the ground shall be prepared to cushion the animal’s fall. In determining the number of falls allowed, consideration will be given to how the ground is prepared, length of approach, condition and skill of the animal, method of fall, and other adjacent action.
a. The ground should be softened either by spreading 4 or 5 cubic yards of sand, peat or other soft substance, or by digging up the earth, making sure that all rocks and rough clods are removed.
b. For running horse/livestock falls, the area should not be less than 20 square feet, 12 to 19 inches deep, and filled with sand or other similar materials. It must be checked for rocks, glass and other potentially harmful materials.
c. The softened earth should not be covered by materials that may lessen the effectiveness of the prepared ground. For example, grass clippings rather than sod should be used. The entrance and exit routes to the prepared horse-fall areas must be checked for hazards as well.
8-94 Skid and hock boots should be used in downhill slides or rodeo/reining slide stops.
8-95 Saddle drags shall only be accomplished on horses trained to do so. Untrained horses can be easily spooked and injured and can cause a runaway.
8-96 Breakaway materials must be used in scenes where horses paw, strike or kick stationary scenery or props. Otherwise, the horse action must be simulated using an artificial horse leg or other such device.
Stampedes and Large Groups of Horses and Livestock
8-97 An adequate number of pickup riders shall be used during stampedes, charges, runaways, wagon crashes, riding, liberty work, herd scenes and running scenes to maintain control of the situation at all times and to aid in the event of an emergency. The riders and their horses should be experienced, and the horses should be in excellent condition.
8-98 When moving large groups of horses or livestock, care should be taken to prevent stampedes. An adequate number of pickup riders must be provided to control the set. This is especially important for cattle scenes.
8-99 In stampede scenes, when a large number of animals is restricted to a certain path or enclosed area (such as a Western town), the following applies:
a. The streets must be watered down to prevent dust from restricting the vision of trailing animals.
b. The hitching rails must be designed in a manner that the vertical post is flush with the horizontal post. The posts must be designed or attached without the use of nails, spikes or any material that can impale or lacerate should the rail become dislodged through contact.
c. Prior to a stampede scene, American Humane shall inspect the area with the stunt coordinator and/or the wrangler to determine if the hitching rails are constructed properly. Should a hitching rail be positioned in an area that is potentially dangerous to any animal, then that hitching rail shall be removed. If the removal of any rails presents a continuity problem, the rail(s) must be replaced by a balsa-wood hitching rail with the same construction restrictions applied. Should American Humane, the stunt coordinator or the wrangler determine that the hitching rail is in any way unsafe, appropriate steps must be taken to correct the problem.
8-100 When any animals are used for a stampede scene occurring near any cliff, hill, knoll or other steep face of earth, the following applies:
a. Fencing or other devices and/or an adequate number of pickup riders must be positioned to easily retrieve any animals that might stray from the herd being filmed.
b. Neither the animals nor pickup riders shall be allowed any closer than 75 feet from the edge of any cliff, hill, knoll or other steep face of earth.
c. The above rule also applies when placing or holding the herd in an area waiting to be filmed.
d. At no time may any animal be left unattended.
e. If a helicopter or other aircraft is used to film the stampede, see Aircraft Safety in Chapter 5.
Harness/Artillery Scenes and Stunts
The following guidelines are broken down into subcategories: General Use, Breakaway, Artillery, etc. Please read all guidelines fully to ensure compliance.
NOTE: Although the following sections generally refer to “horses,” these guidelines for harness and artillery scenes apply to all hitched livestock, including horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, steer and oxen.
8-101 Only animals trained to the harness and the type of hitch utilized may be used.
8-102 All animals must be controllable at all times.
8-103 A driver or animal handler with experience and knowledge in working with harnessed animals must be used and must maintain direct, hands-on control of harnessed/hitched animals at all times.
8-104 All animals in a hitched team must be of similar size and stature, and in good health and condition.
8-105 All harnesses must be in good condition, well-fitted to the animals used, and appropriate for the work being performed. Adequate adjustment and fitting of the harnesses to the animals is necessary to reduce soring of necks from collars or of flanks from britching. Any equipment found to be cracked, worn or dry-rotted shall not be used.
8-105.1 The weight of the apparatus to be pulled shall be considered, and the appropriate number of animals shall be used to ensure that no animals are overloaded or overdriven. Other factors, such as environmental and climatic conditions, whether natural or man-made, affect how much weight an animal can pull and must be considered. Mud, grades (uphill or downhill), frequent stopping and starting, apparatus loaded with cargo or persons, etc., cause harnessed animals to work harder, can tire animals quickly and could cause injury. (Refer to the federal Animal Welfare Act and state and local laws and regulations.)
8-106 All apparatus to be pulled (e.g., wagons, carriages, artillery pieces) must be in good working order: no rotten, cracked, worn or missing parts or ungreased fittings. (Also see Industry-Wide
Labor-Management Safety Committee Safety Bulletin #4, “Stunts,” paragraph 7.)
8-107 A harnessed animal must never be left unattended. Animals shall never be unbridled while still hitched. A driver or experienced animal handler must maintain direct, hands-on control of hitched teams at all times.
8-108 It is important to establish a safe working distance around a hitched team. This includes the sides and rear of the apparatus to which the animals are hitched. American Humane suggests that camera/insert cars maintain a safe distance of 25 feet around the entire hitch. Cameras/booms should keep a safe distance of 14 feet and should only be used with animals that have been trained to accept a crane/boom camera that moves into different positions during filming. Dry runs with camera/insert cars and cranes should be done to ensure that animals are comfortable with the setup. (Also see Insert Vehicle Safety in Chapter 5.)
8-109 When a hitched animal is being reset or waiting for a take, it is important that all cast and crew stay back 25 feet from the team. No film crew personnel should approach a hitch without permission from the driver — and even then, only when absolutely necessary.
8-110 Harnessed animals should be unhitched or a tongue prop used between setups or breaks during filming. This is especially important when any additional weight is added to the tongue, such as ironing boards or other stunt equipment.
8-111 When shooting intense action in harness (e.g., stunts or water crossings), horses/livestock should be hitched with quick-release snaps or clevises to ensure the quick removal of animals, when necessary.
8-112 Breakaway Scenes
a. In scenes with breakaway wagons, the number of horses in the hitch shall be limited to four; using more horses makes the stunt more dangerous.
b. The distance the “broken away” team has to run must be taken into consideration. The longer the distance, the more dangerous the action becomes. Prior approval of the stunt must be obtained from American Humane.
c. Slides or drags are suggested for use on breakaway teams. When the hitch is broken away, the slide or drag assists in keeping the trees and traces in proper position behind the horses, preventing the team from becoming entangled in the traces or getting hit by the dangling trees/eveners.
d. Runaway wagons and rigging must be inspected to ensure that the horses will break free before the wagon crashes.
8-113 Under no circumstances shall harnessed horses or livestock be allowed to traverse water higher than the animals’ “bottom line” (abdomen). A harness limits a horse’s head movement, preventing it from keeping its head out of higher water. (Also see Water Safety in Chapter 5.)
8-114 When driving more than six horses, it is suggested that two drivers or a brakeman be used. A brakeman should be a qualified driver.
8-115 Quarter straps should be used on all harnesses with britching, especially when harnessed horses will be performing stunts or intense action.
8-116 An adequate number of outriders should be used at all times with harnessed animals. The horse ridden by an outrider should always be faster than the animals used in harness. As a general rule, there should be one outrider for each team in harness (i.e., for a “six-up,” three outriders should be used) and a minimum of two outriders at all times.
8-117 There should be sufficient grooms/wranglers to assist the driver during turns for resets and while waiting for action to begin.
8-118 Only an artillery harness designed for use in conjunction with the operations of pulling or towing artillery pieces may be used.
8-119 Horse gun sections should always have an outrider, either in uniform on camera or a wrangler off camera, to help adjust harnesses or make repairs while the drivers stay mounted or hold their teams.
8-120 All activity during the movement of guns should be done at a walk or trot. Gunners may ride the limber box at these gaits. No artillerymen should be on the limber box when the team is at a canter or gallop.
8-121 If using heavy guns (3-inch ordnance guns or 12-pounders), a tractor or a 4×4 should be available to haul the cannon back to the starting position to save the artillery horses for additional takes.
8-122 If the distance on each take is short, have the gun, limber and team physically rolled backwards rather than make the team do large, repeated circles back to the original position.
Explosives/Gunfire (Also see Chapter 6, Special Effects.)
NOTE: Also see Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Safety Bulletin #1, “Recommendations for Safety With Firearms and Use of ‘Blank Ammunition.’”
8-123 Only qualified, experienced cannoneers approved by the re-enactor coordinator shall be used in battle scenes with cannon fire.
8-124 For battle scenes with cannon fire, a minimum of four experienced and qualified artillery personnel must be used. These personnel must be checked out and approved by the re-enactor coordinator.
8-125 After the gun is unlimbered, all hitches must be behind their individual guns before any of the cannons are fired.
8-126 When a pistol is fired from horseback, the weapon shall be held at no less than a 45-degree angle to the horse’s head. This will decrease the chances of powder flashes causing burns to the horse’s corneas.
8-127 When firing a pistol or carbine from the ground, the weapon shall not be pointed at a horse.
8-128 When firing any type of artillery piece around horses, quarter loads must be used. Although an animal may be accustomed to loud noises, there is a danger of damage to an animal’s ears from the percussive force of the ammunition.
8-129 Artillery pieces being fired must be a minimum of 25 feet from the nearest horse.
8-130 All mortar potholes must be filled after battle scenes if the holes are no longer necessary. This is to prevent injury to horses that may be used in that same area for different scenes.
Saber/Sword/Lance Fights (Also see Chapter 6, Special Effects.)
NOTE: Also see Industry-Wide Labor-Management Safety Committee Safety Bulletin #30, “Recommendations for Safety With Edged and Piercing Props.”
8-131 The use of sabers or lances while on horseback must be done with the utmost safety. American Humane encourages the use of rubber, plastic or other “prop” sabers and swords, and balsa-wood lances scored to break away. In the event real sabers must be used, all sabers should have dull edges. However, it should be kept in mind that the tips are still pointed, so all saber activity should be done with the blade in a vertical position.
8-132 All saber fighting should be done with an experienced horse accustomed to close body contact.
8-133 When engaged in hand-to-hand fighting with sabers, riders should, at all times, keep their sabers above the heads of both riders and horses.
8-134 No activity should occur with the saber blade below the head level of the horse, which could strike the horse in the head or ear area.
8-135 When sabers are in the carry position, the blade should be in a neutral position at all times. This means either straight up or resting in the hilt (handle), and they should rest on the right thigh of the cavalryman. This will stabilize the blade and minimize any lateral or horizontal positioning of the blade during a march or charge.
Horse-Racing Scenes (Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Mule, Arabian, Steeplechasing, Harness and Hurdling)
ADVISORY: When staging racing scenes or collaborating with existing racetracks to procure racing scenes for a film, production must, at a minimum, comply with the “Welfare Guidelines for Horseracing” from the International Group of Specialist Racing Veterinarians (IGSRV), which are reflected in the following guidelines. When filming pre-existing, regularly scheduled racing events in order to include such footage in a film production, filmmakers must select racetracks that, at a minimum, comply with these guidelines. The following guidelines have been modified to include references to filming and to create consistency with American Humane’s Guidelines.
8-137 For scenes depicting horse racing, only experienced, trained and conditioned animals shall be used. American Humane reserves the right, for the well-being of the animals, to remove any animals that are not trained, prepared and conditioned to perform the required animal action.
8-138 For scenes depicting horse racing, an experienced animal handler and/or licensed racehorse trainer shall be used.
8-139 In the event of an accident or injury, jockeys and/or drivers will dismount, and the animal will be collected by ambulance whenever necessary. (Also see Chapter 2, Veterinary Guidelines.)
8-140 A veterinarian specialized in treating racehorses will be on set at all times when filming racing scenes. An animal ambulance shall also be on standby for use, if necessary.
8-141 Prior to use, a veterinarian shall examine the animals and review the prior racing and medical history of each animal (if available) and provide documentation to American Humane upon request.
8-142 Drugs, including anesthetics, sedatives and chemical laxatives may not be administered to an animal for the purpose of filmmaking. The main purpose of controlling medication is to protect the welfare of the animal and the safety of the rider or driver.
a. No horse requiring the drug Lasix or any similar drug, or any horse diagnosed with exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH)shall be used.
b. No drug shall be allowed that affects the racing performance of the horse or conceals any defects or lameness.
c. No animal that has been nerve-blocked shall be allowed to participate in scenes depicting any type of horse racing.
d. Under certain circumstances and with prior approval by both American Humane and the animal’s veterinarian, the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be permitted. (Also see Guideline 8-82.)
8-143 No horse showing signs of disease, lameness or other ailment shall be used in racing scenes. Whenever there is any doubt, a veterinary inspection will take place before any horse is allowed to race.
8-144 Mares that are known to be pregnant shall not participate in racing scenes.
8-145 No horse under the age of 4 years shall participate in horse-racing scenes.
8-146 When filming racing scenes, an adequate number of horses shall be on hand for use as backup animals. Horse racing puts great stress on the musculoskeletal system of a horse.
8-147 American Humane shall be notified prior to filming and must approve the racing schedule.
a. Approval will depend on the distance to be run in each take, the frequency of runs, the track surface, the individual horse (age, health history), weight to be carried, and environmental conditions such as heat, cold and rain.
b. In the case of steeplechase or hurdling racing, the number, size and design of fences should be carefully assessed.
8-148 Horse-racing scenes must be staged to prevent animals from being overworked. The animal handler must have in place a racing schedule for each animal that takes into consideration the distance to be run and the number of takes. Preventing animals from being overworked can be accomplished in the following ways:
a. American Humane recommends that productions be proactive when choosing times or seasons in which to film animals. It is not recommended to film in the hottest or coldest times of the year/day in areas where heat or cold may become an animal-safety issue.
b. If animals do not return to a normal resting respiration within a reasonable amount of time, they should be removed and not allowed to run again.
c. Maintain a sufficient supply of ice and water at the filming location to be used to cool horses.
d. Film these scenes in early morning or late afternoon, when temperatures are lower, during times of extreme heat. American Humane recommends that all racing scenes be filmed in the hours before 11:00 a.m. and after 4:00 p.m. during periods of excessive heat.
e. Provide animals with protection from direct sun by providing shade.
f. Limit rehearsals and takes.
g. Provide sufficient rest periods between takes.
h. Provide a sufficient supply of backup animals so the animals can be rotated.
i. Have an adequate number of animal handlers available to provide cooling or warming to animals.
ADVISORY: During periods of extreme heat, consideration should be given that the temperature on the track may be much higher than the air temperature, due to the reflective nature of track surfaces.
American Humane’s guidelines for Horse/Livestock Stunts and Strenuous Equine Action (which appear earlier in this chapter) shall apply. Common sense should be used when racing in extreme weather. Provisions shall be made to cool horses soon after racing in hot/humid conditions. American Humane considers any temperature above 80 degrees Fahrenheit with humidity as dangerous to an animal participating in strenuous activity. Horses used in racing during cold weather should be moved indoors as soon as possible.
8-149 The housing, feeding, training and racing of horses should be compatible with good horsemanship and should not compromise their welfare. Any practices that cause physical or mental suffering, whether in the stables or during training or racing, will not be tolerated.
8-150 Track Bandages – There is an art to wrapping a horse’s leg for a race, and anyone doing such wrapping on a film set should be experienced and qualified to do so.
8-151 American Humane does not condone the use of whips on horses. Whips may be used as props, and the desired visual effect may be accomplished by simulating the action. At no time shall an animal be whipped to run faster. American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representatives shall check each animal after each take for post-racing whip welts.
8-152 The use of electric stimulation devices such as prods or pocket prods, or other similar devices, is not permitted by American Humane. The use of any nail, tack, screw or other sharp object for training or prodding an animal is prohibited.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, the use of prods and other electric stimulation devices is prohibited.
8-153 American Humane encourages the use of horses that have been trained to load easily into starting gates.
a. Horses shall be trained, prepared and conditioned with loading procedures so they may load quietly and calmly.
b. Any horse that is excessively excited in starting gates shall be immediately removed and not used again.
c. Barriers should be properly designed and safe.
d. Methods used to load horses into starting gates should be limited to encouraging the animal without causing harm or fear.
e. Experienced, trained personnel shall be used to operate starting gates.
f. Starting gates shall be inspected prior to use to ensure that they are in good working order.
8-153.1 Racetracks and racing surfaces should be designed and maintained to reduce the risk of injury. Particular attention shall be paid to crossings, uneven racing surfaces and extremes in surface quality.
8-153.2 Participation in steeplechasing and hurdling shall be restricted to horses with demonstrated jumping ability.
American Humane recommends that certain rodeo events be simulated to ensure the safety of the animals; for example, staging rodeo scenes in cuts with trained movie animals and/or using Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) livestock and livestock contractors. All rodeo events must be discussed with American Humane prior to filming.
American Humane has considered and incorporated the best practices of the PRCA, the National High School Rodeo Association and the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association in compiling these Guidelines.
Where the PRCA Rule Book and American Humane Guidelines coincide, we have indicated the PRCA reference with a double asterisk (**); however, for the sake of filming, American Humane’s Guidelines reflect added safety, due to the distinctive nature of the filmmaking process.
When filming pre-existing, regularly scheduled rodeo events in order to include such footage in a film production, filmmakers must select rodeos that, at a minimum, comply with PRCA rules. Production must also allow adequate lead time to secure permission from PRCA to film at the designated event.
Production, including the stunt coordinator, shall work collaboratively with the animal handler and American Humane to ensure the safety of horses and livestock. When stunts involve horses and livestock, it is ultimately the responsibility of the animal handler and American Humane to determine if the stunt is safe for the animals.
American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representatives are trained and experienced in all aspects of animal action and are present for the safety and welfare of the animals. When filming scenes depicting rodeo events, American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representatives shall ensure that the following guidelines are followed.
ADVISORY: When planning to film scenes depicting rodeo events, production must check local and state laws, regulations and ordinances, as well as contact American Humane early in pre-production. Some areas ban the use of equipment such as flank straps, sharp spurs and prods. Some areas also ban specific rodeo events.
8-154 Certain races, contests and actions are not permitted and must be simulated/staged. Simulated/staged refers to either an animal or the activity of an animal that is created or enhanced by artificial technical means, e.g., animatronics, puppets, camera angles, split screen, computer-generated images (CGI), etc., and/or any combination of the above. Simulated/staged action may also include the careful choreographing of live animal action to create the illusion of risk. Simulated/staged action avoids placing the live animal in jeopardy.
The races, contests and actions that are not permitted and must be simulated/staged are:
a. Wild-horse races, suicide races, wild drag races, chuckwagon races or other similar races or contests.
b. Steer wrestling, steer roping, calf roping or other similar races or contests.
c. When filming involves “hooking” or “hang-up” scenes (i.e., a bull hooking a person or object, or a rider caught in the rope).
American Humane must be contacted during pre-production for approval and assistance in staging such events, contests and/or filming. All rodeo events must be discussed with American Humane prior to filming.
8-155 Outside of trained movie animals, production and/or the animal handler must use livestock from PRCA rodeo livestock contractors — livestock that are bred for, familiar with, and trained and conditioned for rodeo events. Contact PRCA for a list of approved livestock contractors.
Whether production is using trained movie animals or PRCA-approved livestock, the following conditions must be met:
a. Animals shall have experience in the event they will be participating in and shall be trained and prepared in advance to perform the required action.
b. Animals shall be conditioned to the work they will be doing and to the environment in which they will be performing (e.g., crowds, arenas, chutes, cameras and other film equipment).
c. Any animal that has a history of becoming overly excited in the chute, laying down, stalling, falling, flipping, exhibiting a dangerous bucking pattern, running into objects or attempting to jump out of the chute, or in any way appears to be in danger of injuring itself, must be immediately released and shall not be used. Animals that do not settle or calm down in a reasonable amount of time shall not be used.
d. All animals shall be in good health and condition and shall be of the appropriate breed and weight pursuant to PRCA rules.
e. Animals that are underweight, overweight or otherwise not in appropriate physical or behavioral condition to perform the required work shall not be used. An animal shall not be used if, in American Humane’s judgment, the animal is not in appropriate condition.
f. All stock shall have their horns tipped and dulled prior to arrival on set. Cattle shall not be used if their horns will not allow them to pass freely through the chutes.
g. No animal with a fresh brand will be allowed to work.
h. American Humane discourages the use of Mexican fighting bulls for filming, due to their unpredictable temperament. Contact American Humane for prior approval in using Mexican fighting bulls. Because of their unpredictable temperament, innate aggression and heightened reaction to movement, additional safety precautions should be in place.
i. All animals shall be inspected prior to filming. It is the responsibility of production and/or the animal handler to contact American Humane, prior to filming, for purposes of inspecting the stock to be used.
j. An animal shall not be used if, in American Humane’s judgment, the animal is not in appropriate physical or behavioral condition to perform the required action or is not trained, prepared and conditioned to perform the required animal action.
k. The animal handler shall provide American Humane notification of an animal’s ownership, if not owned by the animal handler, upon request.
8-156 All animals used in filming rodeo scenes shall be easily identified at all times with a numbering or other type of identification system, such as halters, bands or tags with names or identification numbers. All animals that have been freshly branded shall not be used.
8-157 Rodeo events must be filmed in a manner consistent with normal rodeo practices.
a. No additional animals, equipment or people shall be in the arena during filming, unless prior approval has been received from the animal handler and American Humane.
b. Production and animal handlers shall provide an adequate number of trained and experienced safety personnel, such as pickup riders, gatemen, pickup horses and bullfighters for the type of filming to be accomplished.
8-158 American Humane suggests the use of trained and experienced animal handlers who have a background in rodeo and filming techniques. All animal handlers, including (but not limited to) trainers, stunt personnel, pickup riders and livestock handlers, participating in filming must have experience with the rodeo event they will be participating in and must be familiar with animal handling and behavior.
8-159 When actors or other people inexperienced in rodeo must appear to be participating in rodeo events, those scenes should be accomplished with the use of mechanical or animatronic animals, CGI, simulated effects, experienced doubles or a combination of the above, to ensure safety.
ADVISORY: Any actor, extra or other person required to ride a horse or bull for the purpose of filming must have the appropriate skill and physical ability for the action to be accomplished.
8-160 A veterinarian shall be present for filming and for the selection of stock.
a. American Humane shall be made aware of any veterinarians on set. In order to properly document the use of animals in filmed media, production and the animal handler shall ensure that there is open communication between American Humane and the veterinarians.
b. Veterinarians used for filming should have working experience and knowledge of the species of animals being used.
c. The veterinarian(s) must be located close enough to the set to ensure availability in case of an emergency. Contact information for veterinarians should be provided to American Humane and should be placed on the call sheet.
d. Additional veterinarians may be required when animals are to be used on sets at different locations or units.
8-161 Animals must be checked daily for soreness, injury and/or illness. American Humane field personnel shall be included in the inspection process and shall make the final decision as to whether an animal is fit to be used.
a. If an animal is injured or sick, or becomes incapacitated, it shall receive immediate medical care.
b. Sore, lame or ill animals may not be used until their condition has been corrected. Such animals shall not resume work until the veterinarian determines that their condition has been corrected.
c. If veterinary care is required, the veterinarian shall assess the extent of the injury and send a copy of his or her report to American Humane.
d. American Humane staff may accompany the animal to the veterinarian’s office and remain until a diagnosis/prognosis is made.
e. Sick animals must be isolated from other animals on the set and will not be permitted to work.
f. When possible, sick animals shall be removed from the set and treated.
g. A designated area should be available for the treatment of animals that may become sick or injured.
h. An animal with non-painful mechanical limitations or defects that give the visual appearance of lameness or injury may be used only if a veterinarian has examined the animal, determined that using the animal in the manner intended will not cause it pain or stress, and has provided American Humane with a letter certifying that the animal is serviceably sound.
i. In the event of an animal’s death, including the injury of an animal resulting in the subsequent euthanasia of that animal during production, a necropsy of the animal must be performed. The result of the necropsy shall be provided to American Humane.
j. A conveyance must be available and shall be used to remove animals from the arena in case of injury. The conveyance must be large enough to safely and comfortably remove the animals used. Injured calves shall be removed from the arena in a pickup truck or calf stretcher or by conveyance. Animals removed from the arena, pursuant to this section, shall be placed in a situation as isolated and comfortable as possible to reduce stress.
PRCA R9.1/R9.1.1/R9.1.2/R22.214.171.124/R9.13/ R9.13.1
8-162 No drugs, including anesthetics, sedatives and chemical laxatives, may be administered to an animal for the purpose of filmmaking. Under certain circumstances, and with prior approval by both American Humane and the animal’s veterinarian, the administration of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be permitted. At no time shall an animal be used which has been administered a drug to conceal any defects or lameness of the animal. (Also see Guidelines 2-6 and 8-82.)
8-163* Any person who abuses or mistreats an animal by any unnecessary non-competitive or competitive action may be dismissed for the remainder of the film. A person or persons involved in any act of animal abuse, mistreatment or intentional cruelty is in violation of American Humane’s Guidelines and may also be in violation of federal, state or local statutes pertaining to animal welfare, resulting in possible prosecution.
8-164 Horses and livestock must be maintained in facilities that provide proper humane care for each species of animal, to prevent injury. American Humane will determine whether facilities for shelter and protection are:
a. Safe from sharp objects that may cause injury
b. Temperature-controlled when necessary for the health or comfort of the animals
d. Located in an area that minimizes stress
e. Kept in a sanitary condition
f. Constructed to prevent escape
8-165 Animals shall be allowed adequate time to rest and acclimate prior to beginning work, as determined by the American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative.
a. Any and all livestock that will be working with any other animal and/or species of animal shall be given appropriate time to acclimate to each other and to the film environment. If American Humane determines that there has not been an appropriate amount of time for acclimation between species prior to filming, American Humane may request that scenes involving different animals be filmed separately.
b. Prior to the start of filming, all livestock shall be run through event chutes and through the arena and shall be shown the location of the exit gate. Cattle whose horns will not fit through the chute shall not be used. Any livestock that are excessively excited shall be removed.
8-166 Chutes, fencing and holding pens must be constructed to prevent injury to or the escape of animals.
a. Maintenance personnel and equipment shall be available at chutes to assist in the removal of any animal, should it become necessary, and to accomplish any necessary repairs to chutes prior to use.
b. Arena chutes must have free-moving doorways that allow animals to enter and exit freely.
c. Chutes used with steer roping, steer wrestling and team roping must have at least 28 inches of clearance inside the chute and at the gate, when in an open position.
d. During filming, care should be taken to ensure that there are no open gates or open catch-pen gates.
8-168 Whenever possible, spur use should be simulated by a combination of establishing shots and the substitution of flexible rubber spurs. At no time shall spurs with locked rowels be used, unless filming bull riding. In bull riding, spurs may be loosely locked. At no time shall spurs with a diameter of more than 1 inch be used (rubber props are exempt). Spurs must have a minimum of five points. Sharp spurs are not allowed; spurs must be dulled. It shall be at the sole discretion of American Humane to make decisions regarding the use of spurs.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, use of sharp spurs is prohibited.
8-169 Sharp, irritating or cutting objects shall not be used on any animal. The use of any sharp object is not permitted for the purpose of making an animal perform or for exaggerating its performance.
a. Flank straps used for horses must be lined with either sheepskin or neoprene and shall be of the quick-release type. The flank straps shall be placed so that the lined portion is over both flanks of the animal.
b. A soft cotton rope at least 5/8-inch in diameter is acceptable as a flank strap in bull riding and does not require sheepskin or neoprene lining, although the lining is preferred for filming purposes.
c. No sharp objects, such as wire, nails, tacks or screws, shall be used on any animal to enhance its performance.
8-170 Electric prods or other electric stimulation devices may NOT be used for the purpose of making an animal perform and shall not be used during filming. No other tools or stimuli may be used without the express permission of an American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative. However, should the safety of an animal be better served by the use of a remote-command device, particularly when livestock are used in remote locations, that device and its use must have prior approval by American Humane and must be supervised by American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representatives.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, the use of prods and other electric stimulation devices is prohibited.
8-171 Training and/or cueing equipment, such as muzzles, paddles, whips, stock sticks, etc., and other devices must be used safely and humanely under the supervision of American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representatives.
a. The use of nails, tacks, screws or other sharp instruments for training or cueing an animal is prohibited.
b. Horses and livestock shall be trained, conditioned and prepped prior to wearing hobbles. Any horse or livestock that struggles shall be excluded.
c. Horses and livestock shall not be struck in the face by whips, even for the purpose of cueing.
d. All chain, metal and wire tie-downs and bosals must be covered.
8-172 When cueing an animal to get a reaction shot, only noise or visual stimuli shall be used. At the American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative’s discretion, the least amount of noise or visual stimuli should be used to get the desired reaction.
8-173 Safe footing shall be provided on any location or set, as well as on any path to or from the location/set that an animal is required to traverse.
a. The arena must be free of rocks, holes, uneven surfaces, unnecessary obstacles and debris.
b. When using concrete or other hard-surface flooring, the flooring must be covered in a manner to prevent injury to animals. Hard surfaces should be covered with rubber matting and, if necessary for set decoration, dirt may be added up to a depth of 8 inches. If rubber matting is not used, dirt shall be placed on all hard surfaces to a minimum depth of 12 inches. Dirt that has been stored may need to be sifted and sanitized prior to use, to exclude foreign objects, mold spores and other harmful residue and debris found in stored dirt. American Humane recommends the use of fresh dirt. Under no circumstances shall silica dirt be used where animals will be present.
c. Footing containing muck and mud shall be limited to the appropriateness for the species of animal used.
d. When applicable, it may be necessary for the area of filming to be resurfaced; thus, rakes, shovels and/or a tractor and implement shall be on hand to perform the task.
e. All doors and gates shall swing freely and work properly.
f. Should the need arise for a vehicle or other heavy equipment to enter the filming area, and it creates ruts, uneven ground or an otherwise unsafe condition, the ground must be re-prepared prior to using animals in that area.
g. If the conditions in the arena, or other area where the rodeo action will take place, are deemed at any time to be unsafe by American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representatives, the action must stop until the conditions are deemed satisfactory by American Humane. (Also see Chapter 5, Location and/or Set Safety.)
8-174 No personal pets shall be allowed in the arena or area of filming unless approved by American Humane. Any additional animals participating in rodeo filming must be trained, conditioned and acclimated.
8-175 The following applies to the frequency and assignment of animals being used.
a. Livestock may not be used twice in the same day, unless approved by the American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative.
b. No animal may be switched to another event or use, unless approved by the American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative.
c. Consecutive runs on the same animal are not allowed, unless approved by the American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative.
d. An animal used in filming may not be used in any way other than the contest events of that filming, unless approved by the American Humane Certified Animal Safety Representative.
e. All livestock should be removed from the arena after filming has been completed.
(e.g., Steer Wrestling, Steer Roping, Team Roping and Calf Roping) (Also see the PRCA Rule Book, Part 11, and specific sections for steer roping, steer wrestling and calf roping.)
ADVISORY: Steer roping, steer wrestling and calf roping must be simulated/staged. (Also see Guideline 8-154.)
8-176 In order to protect the horse, the back and the side opposite the timed-event chute of timed-event boxes shall either have a lower rail that is less than 3 feet above ground level and have no obstruction in the arena from the ground level up to the lower rail, or be lined from the ground level up to a minimum of 3 feet high with a solid panel. Box pads are required for each timed-event box. The timed-event box shall be 16 feet in length.
8-177 The barrier height in timed events should be 32-36 inches. The timed event chute must have a minimum of 28 inches clearance inside the chute and at the gate when open.
Steer wrestling must be simulated/staged. When filming existing rodeos, those rodeos must, at a minimum, comply with PRCA rules. Also see Guideline 8-154 and Timed Events in this section, and PRCA R11.7.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, this event is prohibited. Contact local and state authorities prior to filming steer-roping scenes.
Steer roping must be simulated/staged. When filming existing rodeos, those rodeos must, at a minimum, comply with PRCA rules. Also see Guideline 8-154 and “Timed Events” in this section, and PRCA R11.9.
Team Roping/Dally Team Roping (Also see “Timed Events” in this section.)
8-178 Production and/or the animal handler must stop the action after a 30-second elapsed time limit in the team-roping event has expired.
8-179 All team-roping cattle shall be protected by horn wraps, and their horns must be blunted to the diameter of a dime.
8-180 All team-roping cattle must be Mexican Corriente steers and must weigh a minimum of 450 pounds and a maximum of 650 pounds.
8-181 No cross-firing shall be allowed. The direction of the steer’s body must be changed before the heel loop may be thrown.
8-182 The three acceptable (“legal”) catches are: both horns, half a head and around the neck. If an “illegal” catch is made, action/filming shall stop. If, at any time, the header’s loop is around a leg, the action/filming must stop immediately to prevent injury to the steer.
8-183 Team-roping cattle shall be acclimated to the chute and the arena and shown the location of the exit gate prior to filming.
8-184 In order to protect the horse, the back and the side opposite the timed-event chute of timed-event boxes shall either have a lower rail that is less than 3 feet above ground level and have no obstruction in the arena from the ground level up to the lower rail, or be lined from the ground level up to a minimum of 3 feet high with a solid panel. Box pads are likewise required for each timed-event box.
Tie-Down Roping/Calf Roping
(Also see Timed Events in this section.)
ADVISORY: *In some areas, this event is prohibited. Contact local and state authorities prior to filming tie-down roping/calf-roping scenes.
NOTE: When filming existing rodeos, see PRCA R11.6.
8-185 When filming tie-down roping/calf roping, the event must be simulated by using a breakaway rope and filming the action in two parts, or the event must be staged or simulated using other methods for which American Humane has given prior approval.
8-186 There shall be a 25-second elapsed time limit. Roping a calf after the 25-second elapsed time shall be considered mistreatment of the animal. No “series” of action or consecutive use with the same calf will be allowed for filming.
8-187 When simulating the dragging or jerking down of a calf, a stuffy or other device must be used. There shall be no dragging or jerking down of a live animal for the purposes of filming.
8-188On filming locations, there will be no “throw down” or excessive handling of calves in roping events. Any person violating the legal takedown (flanking) will not be allowed to participate in this event for the remainder of filming.
a. Flanking consists of the calf being rolled towards the knee and laid down; the calf’s legs shall follow the same clockwise or counterclockwise turn of the animal’s head.
b. A stuffy or other prop must be used to simulate any “throw down,” excessive handling or jerking of a calf.
8-189 All roping calves must be either native, Brahma or of a similar cross. Calves must be strong and healthy. The recommended weight for the calves should be a minimum of 220 pounds and a maximum of 280 pounds.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, the use of flank straps is prohibited. Contact local and state authorities prior to filming bareback-riding scenes.
8-190 Horses are to be ridden a maximum of 8 seconds, unless prior approval has been received from American Humane. The timing shall start when the horse’s inside shoulder breaks the plane of the bucking chute. Consecutive rides with the same horse are not allowed for filming.
8-191 Any horse that backs out of the chute or turns around, becomes overly excited, stalls, lies down, jumps out or displays any other behavior that could cause the horse to injure itself is not considered a proven animal and, therefore, shall be removed immediately and not be allowed to work again. (Also see Guideline 8-155.)
8-192 Bareback rigging, cinches and pads must meet PRCA specifications. When in doubt, check with PRCA for specifications on equipment.
8-193 Flank straps used for horses must be lined with sheepskin or neoprene and shall be of the quick-release type. Flank straps shall be placed so that the lined portion is over both flanks of the animal.
8-194 The ride/action shall stop if the following occurs:
a. Rowels being used are too sharp, are locked or do not have more than five points.
b. Equipment breaks and/or comes off the horse.
c. The horse trips, falls down, stumbles, runs into objects, bucks in a manner that could cause injury, or becomes overly excited.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, the use of flank straps is prohibited. Contact local and state authorities prior to filming bronc-riding scenes.
8-195 Horses are to be ridden a maximum of 8 seconds, unless prior approval has been received from American Humane. The timing will begin when the horse’s inside shoulder breaks the plane of the bucking chute. Consecutive rides with the same horse are not allowed for filming.
8-196 Any horse that backs out of the chute or turns around, becomes excessively excited, stalls, lies down, tries to jump out, or displays any other behavior that could cause the horse to injure itself is not considered a proven animal and, therefore, shall be removed immediately and not be allowed to work again. (Also see Guideline 8-155.)
8-197 Appropriate bronc-riding saddles shall be used for this event. All riding must be done with saddles that meet PRCA specifications.(**See PRCA R10.5.1.)
a. A standard halter that appropriately fits the saddle-bronc horse must be used. Halters must have adjustable nosebands.
b. It is recommended that the riding rein be attached on the bottom of the halter noseband. The riding rein shall be on the same side as the riding hand.
c. Horses shall be saddled in the chute only. Saddles shall not be set too far ahead on the horse’s withers. All rigging shall lie flat on a horse’s back when being cinched, to prevent injury to the horse’s back.
8-198 Flank straps must be lined with either sheepskin or neoprene, and shall be of the quick-release type. Sheepskin- or neoprene-lined flank straps shall be placed so the lined portion is over both flanks of the animal.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, the use of flank straps is prohibited. Contact local and state authorities prior to filming bull-riding scenes.
ADVISORY: American Humane recommends the use of a mechanical bull when actors or other untrained persons must participate in scenes depicting bull riding.
8-199 Bulls are to be ridden a maximum of 8 seconds. No consecutive rides with the same bull will be allowed for filming.
8-200 Flank Straps
a. The flank strap must be a soft cotton rope at least 5/8-inch in diameter. It is preferable that flank straps have sheepskin or neoprene lining.
b. Flank straps on bulls shall not be so long as to allow the tail of the flank strap to touch the ground when pulled. Flank straps shall be placed on the animal so they are over both flanks and do not restrict genitalia.
c. Bull tails are not allowed under flank straps.
8-201 Bull Rope
a. The bull rope (preferably cotton or seagrass) must have a bell, which must be under the belly of the bull. No hooks or posts shall be used on bull ropes. (Also see PRCA R10.6.1.4 when using a ring.)
b. Knots or hitches that would prevent the rope from falling off the bull are not allowed.
c. A quick-release buckle is optional on the bull rope. When used, it must be placed on the off side.
8-202 The following are not allowed:
a. Placing spurs or chaps under the bull rope when the rope is tightened.
b. Leaving the chute with spurs hooked or lodged in the bull rope loop(s).
c. Spurs that are sharp or are not a minimum of five points. In bull riding, spurs may be loosely locked.
8-202.1 Safe footing and ground preparation are extremely important when barrel racing. American Humane will stop any filming if unsafe ground conditions are found, until the problem is corrected.
a. If a vehicle or other heavy object enters the area to be used for barrel racing and it creates any ruts, uneven ground, etc., the conditions must be corrected prior to filming.
b. Production and animal handlers shall have rakes, shovels, a tractor and implements on hand to correct unsafe conditions and to resurface the filming area as needed to maintain safe footing. (Also see Guideline 8-173.)
Women’s Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA) 126.96.36.199/12.9/12.9.7/12.10
8-202.2 American Humane prohibits the use of bits and equipment considered severe.
ADVISORY: *In some areas, the use of severe bits is prohibited.
8-202.3 Barrel racing must be accomplished in an area enclosed by appropriate fencing, such as an arena.
8-202.4 Barrels used must be U.S. 55-gallon light steel barrels with both ends intact. There shall be no sharp edges or points on the barrels. Barrels must be brightly colored.
8-202.5 The barrel pattern must fit the area to be used. Barrels must be at least 18 feet from the sides of the arena. Barrels must have a minimum of 25 feet of clearance at the end of the arena. If these distances are smaller, the arena is inappropriate for barrel racing.
8-202.6 At no time shall the stopping distance be less than 45 feet. All alleys used shall be free of all objects, equipment, other horses and people. Alleys must be a minimum of 10 feet wide. Any cross-bars must be a minimum of 12 feet in height. All alleys shall be of dirt. Any wires, bars, boards or cords must be covered to a sufficient depth and maintained throughout filming to prevent tripping or stumbling of horses.
8-202.7 Only one horse at a time is allowed in the filming area.