Ya, boo, Balrogs. What I can’t wait to see on the big screen is the Riders of Rohan. I know they’ve been mustering horses and riders in the far South on NZ to train for the movie, but a friend of mine got into a conversation with some racehorse-owners in a pub here in Auckland. They were saying that they’d had to move their horses from their usual place in the Waikato (remember, those very green plains near Hobbiton?) because the landowner or trainer had taken up a contract to work with horses for Peter Jackson. Lots of horses, they said. About 500.

Further questioning around the horsey community seems to clear things up slightly: a small number of higly-trained horses will be bought ( a friend who was hoping to achieve a highly-trained horse for nothing found this out…) and they will have starring roles in the films; in addition to that, a large number of extras with their own horses will train up in cavalry manouevres. People weren’t sure that this was in fact in the Waikato. Either way, some place must be needed with a great deal of space, privacy and the ability to cater for hundreds of horses and riders, all getting used to working with weapons and so on.

Whether the two cavalry groups from the North and South Islands will ever meet up for some huge battle scenes remains to be seen. Because that area is so much greener than the South Island film locations, I’m beginning to wonder whether some of Rohan will be filmed in the North. Plus the Waikato is where some of the fastest horses in the world are bred, and the whole area is swarming with them.