A few weeks ago, we reported that Liam Neeson had become friends with a horse that he worked with on The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, noting that he and the equine actor had actually worked together on a previous movie and that the horse “whinnied” and “pawed the ground” to indicate that he remembered Neeson from their last film. Recently, Vulture decided to ask Russell Crowe about his history of working with horses, and it turns out that he also has a friend who is a horse. “I don’t know if you’re a fan of my movies or if you’ve ever seen my movies,” Crowe said to Vulture in an odd preface, “I do tend to ride a horse every now and then, and people are very complimentary about my horse riding.”
After finishing his little brag about how good he is at hanging out with horses, Crowe revealed that one of the horses in Robin Hood was actually the horse he rode in Gladiator. Crowe decided to go say hello to the animal, which was named George, and he introduced himself with his customary horse greeting: “I actually put my hand under his nostrils first and touched his mouth, that’s what I always do, that’s how they recognize that it’s me.” (In horse circles, they call that move “The Russell.”)
Once he had properly reintroduced himself to George, Crowe leaned in and whispered, “Hey mate, you know we won the Academy Award together,” at which point George “gave him a little whinny of acknowledgement.” It may seem silly that so many famous people know how to translate horse whinnies, but neigh, that’s just part of the magical bond between actors and horses. On Twitter, Crowe even mentioned another one of his lifelong horse friends:
Also, just in case it’s not clear, introducing yourself to a human person by walking up to them and making them smell your hand is not appropriate. It’s only allowed when meeting horses.