Visiting Shadowfax

Nuradar writes: This past Sunday, May 27 I went to a horse exhibition in Truro, Nova Scotia to see Blanco, the beautiful white Andalusian that played Gandalf’s horse, Shadowfax, in the The Lord of the Rings movies, The Two Towers and The Return of the King. It was a great exhibition with many horses and lots to learn about riding and grooming, but I must admit, Blanco was the main reason went. I was not disappointed. He’s not exactly a large horse, but boy was he beautiful. His owner is Cynthia Royal, who acquired him immediately after filming was completed for all three movies. She gave the audience some interesting facts about his involvement with the movies. For example, Blanco’s nose and lips turned progressively more pink as filming went on. Therefore, they are more pink in The Return of the King than in The Two Towers. Another interesting tidbit is that Blanco was gelded (neutered) after the movies were finished so that nobody would profit from his offspring due to his association with The Lord of the Rings. Also, Blanco’s specialties include riding bare back and rearing on his hind legs. Blanco did have a double for some of the fast riding shots, but he is the horse we see in most scenes. And, of course, Sir Ian McKellen had a stunt double for the fast riding shots.

Cynthia Royal was at the exhibition not only to show Blanco to the public, but also to promote her style of horse training and her DVD. She uses a non-aggressive way to train horses that involves an innate understanding of a horse’s body language. Knowing the horse’s body language allows her to understand and respect the horse’s needs and intentions, and therefore, she doesn’t need to use force or aggression in her training. For more information on Cynthia’s training, visit her website,

It really was a thrill to see the horse that portrayed Shadowfax in the Lord of the Rings movies. Cynthia’s website indicates that there are some tentative U.S. tour dates for this fall and winter and for 2008. Check to see if she and Blanco are coming to your city.