Award-winning blogger Fran Jurga, who chronicles the heroic efforts of veterinarians and farriers as they strive to save horses from life-threatening illness, has parlayed her storytelling talent into an all-out promotional blitz of the blockbuster Steven Spielberg movie War Horse.
For moviegoers who can’t get enough of the story of a World War I British horse who struggles to survive at the front, and of the soldiers moved to acts of human kindness to help, Jurga is furiously writing stories for the War Horse News, a website launched in collaboration with Equisearch.com and AIM Equine Network.
In War Horse News, fascinating detail about the movie is told without giving away the plot. Readers learn, for example, that the director’s daughter Destry Spielberg is an accomplished equestrian in the United States hunter/jumper circuit, and that her first name, translated into French, actually means War Horse.
Everything from how the film production complied with the American Humane Association’s criteria for the safety and gentle handling of horses during filming, to how the horses were trained to “act” lame or to fall to their knees as if shot is all there!
And behind the movie-making glitz and excitement are many sobering reminders of just how much the horse has given and has been sacrificed, in human conflict. Jurga writes that of 160 thousand horses sent to serve in the Palestine Conflict, only one, an officer’s horse named Sandy, returned.
The statistics are just as grim in other wars. About a half million American horses were dispatched to France to serve in World War I, with most of those who survived only to be butchered for their meat. And large numbers died from exposure and disease.
But, says Jurga, it is never too late to remember the sacrifice of warhorses in human history, and to respect these unsung heroes whose bloodlines still run through many American breeds.
“Chances are, there is some warhorse blood somewhere in your horse’s pedigree,” Jurga says in a press release. “After seeing War Horse, many people will think differently about their own horse’s heritage.”
The movie itself argues to be a lasting tribute to these noble animals who finally have their story told on the silver screen.
“What Steven Spielberg has done for horses will live on forever as a sate-of-the-art horse film, but, more importantly, it will live as a tribute to war horses whose poignant sacrifices have gone unheralded until now,” she states in a press release. “The film presents the horse’s story in seamless images, music and drama that will leave everyone breathless.”
Jurga has spent her professional life weaving delightful stories about veterinarians and farriers, the unsung heroes of the horse world, for her popular websites, The Jurga Report for EQUUS Magazine and The Hoof Blog for her own Hoofcare Publishing.
She has traveled the world, going from small blacksmiths in Scotland to Hunter Valley in Australia, Chantilly in France and to New Zealand, in search of the latest discoveries in hoof health.
And she has been studying and reporting on how human friends of horses have striven to cure horses of debilitating and often fatal diseases, and has reported on pioneering breakthroughs in hoof treatments.
Now turning her attention to covering War Horse, Jurga hits upon a theme running through all her stories and publications; the bond between horse and humans is a strong and everlasting one.
“The story of War Horse is that some humans can be moved to acts of kindness towards a horse, even when they are in the midst of the most devastating and degrading circumstances in their own lives,” Jurga says in a press release.
Working with the publicity departments for Dreamworks Pictures in the United States and England, War Horse News will feature behind-the-scenes stories about the equine actors who perform so believably in the film, she says. The blog will also feature contributions by writer Rhonda Lane, audio by Samantha Clark and artwork by Ali Bannister.
“War Horse News will be the center of a social media hub connecting readers to news all over the web about War Horse,” she says.