A farm in East Yorkshire is home to a stable of television talent. This talent regularly shares the small screen with stars including Jenna Coleman, Cillian Murphy and Aidan Turner. The equine stars of TV blockbusters Poldark, Victoria and Peaky Blinders are part of the team at Atkinson Action Horses and and we will present them to you.
Mark followed his father Albert’s footsteps, working as a dairy farmer and keeping horses as a hobby until his wife Jill suggested a change of direction.
“I went in for coffee one day and Jill said I should have a career in horses where my passion and interest really lay. I decided to do it and we set up a riding school and livery yard. We ran a Riding for the Disabled group and had hunter hirelings.”
The business, started by Mark Atkinson more than 20 years ago, did not start off supplying horses for film and TV. A self-confessed “pony geek”
The beginnings of the Atkinson business
“We had a couple of new horses on the yard owned by re-enactors and they were doing a display at a museum in Hull. Someone was sick and they needed an even number. Jill volunteered me, which I wasn’t happy about but went along. We were riding round and there were cannons going off and fires being lit. I thought it was all a bit crazy.” said Mark
Mark met a member of the English Civil War Society who asked about supplying cavalry horses. Mark agreed and it was his first related job.
“All the people who helped with Riding for the Disabled came to give us a hand. We lit bonfires, banged and clattered dustbin lids, used gunshots and improvised all we could to try and recreate the noise and chaos of a battlefield.”
Two weeks later the event in Yeovil and it was a success. This led to more work from the Sealed Knot, English Heritage and the Royal Armouries.
“I think we were really lucky,” says Mark. “We seemed to come along at a time when others were retiring and we picked up the work.”
A turn in the business
The bussiness turned from live displays to supply horses, talent and training for films with Ben Atkinson’s help, Mark’s son.
“I prefer the filming and Ben prefers the live displays so it works well,” Mark says
Ben Atkinson is a 22 year old professional equine stunt rider, trick rider and trainer from East Yorkshire. He has been riding form his childhood and is a member of Atkinson Action Horses. He and his team have twenty years training horses and riders for Film, TV and Live Events. Ben Atkinson confessed in an interview:
The biggest inspiration in my life was my father: the greatest, most talented man I have ever met in all the world. He speaks to horses in a clear and easy way that no one I have ever seen or heard of can match!
Ben considers that horses are “the kindest and most generous creatures on the planet.”
An interest team called “Atkinson Action Horses” with passion and hard work provide horses to films and live displays and a new horses perspective to world
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