LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two Kentucky horses found stardom in a new movie called Orphan Horse, starring actor Jon Voight.
One horse, Dixie, was rescued from poor conditions six years ago by Christy DeWitt and her sister.
“[Dixie] was starved almost to death six years ago,” DeWitt said. “We saved her and got her fattened up. Me and my sister have been working with her, training her different tricks since then.”
All their hard work paid off.
Dixie is the trick horse in the movie. You’ll see her rearing up and sniffing the little girl in the film.
“I taught her to rear up and trained her to lay down," DeWitt said. "Trained her better to ride. She didn’t ride really great when we first got her.”
DeWitt’s sister, Olivia, trained Dixie how to say yes and no, and pick up a bowl.
“She just has the best attitude," DeWitt said. "She’s so willing to do anything. When she gets in front of the camera her face brightens up.”
It’s a nice change from the conditions in which DeWitt found Dixie.
“It’s crazy. I never expected it, but I’m really proud of it because it can show people that just because the horse isn’t bred well or registered or a trained show horse, doesn’t mean it’s not good,” DeWitt said. “People think they are throw-away horses, but you can do just as much with them.”
Fifty miles away from Dixie’s home in Bloomfield is where the other horse in the movie, Luna, lives.
Luna’s owner, Ellie Troutman, also rescues starved horses like DeWitt.
“When you rescue, it’s so hard to know what you have and if they are going to survive,” Troutman said. “How they’re going to react to what’s been done with them. Christy [DeWitt] is a great example with her horse Dixie to come through and have that role.”
Luna is a six-year-old Arabian horse. She’s not a rescue horse. Troutman has had her since she was born.
“She loves the camera,” Troutman said.
Luna is much smaller than Troutman thought she would be, which created a bit of a challenge for her.
“It always disappointed me that as the years past with this horse, I couldn’t find the job," Troutman said. "We couldn’t find a show job, we tried several different things.”
Troutman is no stranger to Hollywood. She starred in JL Ranch in 2016, also starring actor Jon Voight.
Troutman and Voight formed a friendship, which opened the door to film more movies in Kentucky.
Troutman said movie producers saw Luna and felt she was the perfect fit for the main horse role in the movie, a decision Voight agreed with.
“I had only seen Luna in her stall," Voight told WAVE 3 News over the phone. “But I knew about the relationship between Ellie and Luna, and how Luna was always represented of being so special.”
He added: “Once the decision was made I thought, ‘Oh this is perfect. This horse is charismatic.’ There’s no question about that.”
They filmed for about two weeks in Kentucky for the movie, in different parts of WAVE Country.
The movie was released in November. It is available in stores now.