By Jun Sato/WireImage/Getty.
You know what a horse girl is, don’t you? She’s obsessed with horses, and makes sure everyone knows it. She rides them, and adorns her life with the accoutrements of horse care. Being a horse girl is an equine-obsessed state of mind: anyone can do it, really, so long as they put forth the proper effort. And based on the evidence before us, it would appear that Hollywood’s most notable horse girl is . . . Liam Neeson.
In a recent interview with Page Six, Neeson revealed that a horse he worked with on one of his latest films, the Coen brothers Western The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, remembered him from their work together on a different movie. “You won’t believe it,” Neeson said. “I’m saying this horse knew me. He actually remembered me from another Western we made a while back.”
How does a horse express that it remembers you? “He whinnied when he saw me. And pawed the ground,” Neeson said. Apparently, the actor was especially good to this horse on the set of their last film. “When we worked together before, I took special care of him. I fed him treats. Gave him apples.”
This isn’t the first time Neeson has proven his horse-girl bona fides. Back in 2014, the actor, who lives in New York, rallied against Mayor Bill de Blasio for vowing to ban horse carriages from Central Park. The practice has increasingly been viewed as a form of animal cruelty, and activists have urged the city to replace the carriages with antique-style electric cars.
Now, this is where things get a little tricky. Wouldn’t a horse lover like Neeson want to bring an end to the carriage practice? Isn’t it less cruel for the horses to live in a stable or on a farm, away from the endless dirt and whir of New York?
If you’re Neeson’s form of horse girl, the answer is a resounding no. The actor maintained his stance against de Blasio, even bringing the debate to Jon Stewart in an episode of The Daily Show. He also wrote an op-ed for The New York Times explaining his stance and outlining his horse-girl origin story: “As a horse lover, I grew up riding and caring for two horses every summer on my aunt’s small farm in County Armagh, Northern Ireland,” he wrote. “I have continued to enjoy working with horses in a professional context over the years, appearing in a couple of Westerns and what I call ‘cowboys in armor’ movies. I can appreciate a happy and well-cared-for horse when I see one.”
He detailed the ways in which the Central Park horses are cared for and how their daily schedule is actually good for them, as well as for the carriage drivers who make a living in the profession. He also narrated a video campaign aimed at keeping the carriage tradition alive! Four years later, and horses are still stuck in the city. Neeson’s work here is done, for now—so he can go ahead and keep building an army of loyal horses, one film set at a time.