Martin Clunes: Horse Power on One

7:30pm Sunday, February 13 on TV One

From remotest Mongolia to the deserts of Arabia, and from the Mustangs of Nevada to the Windsor Greys of Buckingham Palace. From chariots to cowboys, armoured knights to mounted police to horse whisperers, actor and horse lover, Martin Clunes travels the world to unlock the secrets of a partnership which shaped the world.

Not so very long ago, every society on earth seemed to be dependent on this equine power, for warfare, ceremony, farming, transport, sport and pleasure. “Our world wouldn’t be the same without the horse,” Clunes says. “For thousands of years this was our car, our wagon.”

In making the programme Clunes says “I wanted to find out how this animal became so important to us. How did we manage to tame such a huge, fearful prey animal and make it both our servant and our friend.”

Clunes goes on to add “I got drawn into the world of horses through my wife and my daughter and I’m a terrible rider really. I get better but the more time I spend with them… just hanging out with them the more fascinated I am. Why on earth would such a huge, big, lovely, flighty animal let me sit on his back and ride him?”

Today, the horse is still so much a part of the world in so many ways. On this journey, Clunes unravels the true story of how man and horse first got together, what the horse has done for us through the ages, and what the horse still means to us today.

The first episode in the two-part series explores why the horse evolved to be the way it is, and why it was possible to connect with it and turn it to our advantage. In the desert sands of the Gulf Clunes is introduced to Ali, an ‘amazing Bedouin man’ who trains horses to stand on a mark.

“There aren’t any trees to tie your horse to in the desert, so if you get off to have a pee and the horse wanders off you’re in trouble,” Clunes concludes.

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