Penticton rider scores role in Flicka 3

A Penticton rider has stars in her eyes after playing a role in Flicka 3, which just finished filming in the Okanagan.

Kelsey McNabb  practices her show jumping skills at Lindsay Kern’s equestrian centre.

Kelsey McNabb practices her show jumping skills at Lindsay Kern’s equestrian centre.

A Penticton rider has stars in her eyes after being selected to play a role in Flicka 3, which just finished filming in the Okanagan.

Kelsey McNabb was originally hired as a horse wrangler for the movie, along with her riding coach and employer, Lindsay Kern, who runs a Kelowna Equestrian Centre and was contracted to provide 10 horses and assorted riders for the movie.

“They came to her asking her for horses and riders,” said McNabb, who works as Kern’s assistant trainer.

She was hired as a wrangler, but was surprised when she was asked if she wanted to have an acting job. She said sure, but didn’t hear anything more about it until she got a surprise phone call.

“No one told me I had it and then, a week later, wardrobe called me and said we need your sizes for your outfit,” said McNabb. “It just kind of happened.”

In the movie, McNabb was given one of the supporting actress roles, playing Romena, an Argentinian rider, who is asked to be part of a three-day event team.

“The movie is about three-day eventers, which is a combination of show jumping, cross-country jumping and dressage, all kind of mixed together as a sport,” explained Kern. “Our horses are mostly show jumping horses, that’s what they do for a living. It’s a similar sport, so our horses pulled it off.”

McNabb said she handled the riding easily, even if it wasn’t her usual style.

“It’s a little bit more wild, kind of wild and crazy and aggressive,” she said.

“Through the movie, with the coaching and stuff like that, I become a little bit more tamed and smooth around the courses and smooth at the dressage. At the beginning, I am kind of a gong show.”

A number of riders from the school can be seen performing in the movie, though the majority were doubling for the actors, Kern said, adding McNabb was well-suited to handle her role.

“I’ve been her coach for about five years, but she’s actually worked as my assistant trainer for the last year. She was training young horses and competing and training other riders. She’s quite an advanced rider,” said Kern. “That’s partly why they chose her; for her role she could do the acting part, but she could also do the riding, where most of the actresses had to have riding doubles.”

While she is an experienced rider, acting was something entirely new for McNabb. She didn’t have too many lines in the movie, she said, but it has her excited to continue exploring acting possibilities.

“I’ve never taken a drama class in my life. I loved it. It was so much fun, it’s definitely something I would like to pursue,” said McNabb, who plans to take acting classes after she moves to Calgary.

Even though she was acting in the movie, the month of filming entailed some long hours as she continued to work as a horse wrangler.

“It was Tuesday to Saturday, waking up at 4:30 in the morning and coming home at 8 or 9 at night,” said McNabb, who recalls one particularly long day doing both jobs. “One day I woke up at 4:30 a.m. and went down to the set, because I was also working with the horses, and then stayed right through to 11:30 at night.”

Kern agreed the days were long, but added they have experience with that.

“The days running an equestrian centre are pretty long too. So were all kind of adjusted to it in the equestrian world,” she said, though making movies with the horses was a new experience for her.

“I’ve never done anything like that. It was pretty interesting and it was good experience for us. I had no idea that was how movies were filmed.”