To remain true to the period, the actors in Troy who ride horses had to learn to ride bareback, an accomplishment that challenges even the most experienced of equestrians due to the difficulty of remaining balanced on a horse without a saddle. As the leader of Troy’s elite Apollonian Guard, Bana in particular had to master the skill; with up to 80 riders behind him, it was imperative that he be able to safely maneuver. “Hector is a breaker of horses,” Petersen stresses. “He’s a horseman, and Eric had no idea how to ride a horse, so he had to learn from scratch. Now he feels like he was born on a horse.”
“I started training back home in Australia months before we started the production,” says Bana, “and then kept up that training all the way through. I had six or eight people attack me and try and push me off my horse, to train me not to panic if I get in a situation on the set where horses and people go crazy, and you could potentially get pushed off your horse. But I had some wonderful days during filming ‘ Orlando and I had many moments galloping along the beach on our stallions off company hours. And you just turn around to each other and say, ‘How good is this””
Horse master Jordi Casares trained the actors and designed all the stunts involving horses. It took six weeks prior to filming to train the horses to perform their stunts. Crowd control was an obstacle in training the sensitive animals.
“The most difficult issue for me to deal with on this film was when we had actors on the chariots, being pulled by the horses,” Casares remembers. “During battle, there might be 500 extras with the spears and lances surrounding the horses, and it’s natural for them to be scared of spears and sticks or any fast movements. A horse could take off on a chariot with an actor on it, and they will run over anything. They’ll take down extras, cameras, anything in their path.”