“1,500 to 2,000-Pound Horse Body-Slamming”: Jousting World Champion Explained Landing Tactics While Breaking Down a Scene From Oscar Winning Movie in 2022

Published 04/01/2023, 4:00 PM EDT

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The sport of jousting dates back to the medieval period, when combatants on horses would charge at each other with lances and fight. While it is different from equestrian, the similarity lies in the control a rider exerts over his/her horse. Both sports require the need to share an incredibly deep bond. Shane Adams is a world champion jouster who shares such a bond with his horse. Drawing from his vast experience on the subject, Adams once scrutinized a scene from an Oscar-winning movie, where someone falls off a horse.

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In 2022, Shane Adams spoke to Insider to break down 8 horseback fight scenes from pop culture movies. There, he detailed various intricacies associated with riding a horse and also shared his personal experiences about how it normally feels. In a scene from the ‘Gladiator’, Adams explains what it generally feels like to fall off a horse.

A jousting expert scrutinizes the fall from a horse in the opening scene of Gladiator

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The movie Gladiator was released in 2000 and was met with accolades from all corners of the world, which included the Oscar for ‘Best Picture’. The opening scene, an iconic one, shows an intense battle between the Romans and the Germanic tribes. A moment in there shows a Roman rider falling off his horse after a Germanic tribal obstructs the horse’s fast motion with his spear. This is the scene Adams discussed.

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He said, “Well, flying through the horse is pretty easy. It’s the sudden stop when you hit the ground that s*cks…”, answering what it feels like to “come off a horse”. He also said, “If your horse is going to go down, it’s best for you to get clear of your horse, cause’ you don’t want that 1,500 to 2,000-pound horse’s body slamming on top of you”.

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Adams explained the situation in detail after drawing from his own experiences of falling from a horse. During an incident where he fell off a horse, he was lucky to have fallen beside his horse whilst still holding its reins.

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How can someone prevent oneself from getting crushed by a horse’s weight?

Shane Adams explains that it’s best to stay on the horse at any cost, but if it is absolutely apparent that the rider might fall, it’s also best to jump as far off as possible. Otherwise, instances like that can cause devastating injuries, such as Kevin Babbington, who was once left paralyzed after a fall at the Hampton Classic. This is where the “body slamming” from a heavy-weight horse can be prevented.

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Adams also mentioned that he has had very few injuries from his jousting career, but way more from training horses for jousting. This goes to show that those powerful creatures aren’t as easy to manage as they might apparently look. The scene still holds up as one of the most iconic movie scenes of all time, and Adams, with his 20 jousting world championships, was still keen to break it down.

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Written by:

Tanmay Roy

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Tanmay Roy is an American sports writer at EssentiallySports. For Tanmay, it was the Olympics that turned out to be the defining moment to take a serious interest in the field of sports. As a sports writer, he finds his inspiration from the early individual achievements of Michael Phelps, Pete Sampras, and John McEnroe.
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Edited by:

Tony Thomas

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