Tag Archives: Tad Griffith

Tad Griffith, Equine Stunt Trainer, speaks about Sonja Fitzpatrick, the Pet Psychic

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013 | Filed under Interviews

I ran out of time today… so I thought I would bring this blogpost to the forefront.  It was originally posted on April 6, 2010.

Anyway, a few years ago, HORSE AND MAN visited with Tad Griffith.  Tad is an incredible horseman.  He trains his string of movie horses for whatever they need to do:  Roman riding (Zorro), Westerns, Wild West Shows, Jumping through Rings of Fire, Riding at liberty…  His forte is Roman Riding and trick riding but he can do it all.  I remember being a bit afraid to visit Tad because I was hesitant to learn his training tactics.  Silly me… He is an animal lover and treats his charges with great respect.  He taught me so much.  Here is a list of some of his feature credits:

  • The Patriot
  • Shanghai Noon
  • Wild Wild West
  • Ride with the Devil
  • The Mask of Zorro
  • Adobe Station
  • The Magnificent Seven
  • Texas Payback
  • Jack of Hearts
  • Gambler III
  • Dream West
  • Gambler II
  • TBS “Movies for Guys Who Like Movies”
  • Eye on LA
  • Two on the Town

Ok so today, I found some raw footage of casual conversation between Tad and I that we happened to shoot. While reviewing it, I thought his comments on Sonja Fitzpatrick were memorable so I cut them together (to see the video, click here/quicktime)  Do you know about Sonja?  She had a show on Animal Planet called, THE PET PSYCHIC.  Sonja now has a radio show on Sirius.  Anyway, her producers picked Tad’s ranch for one of her episodes of THE PET PSYCHIC and I had heard about it before I interviewed Tad.

So, during my interview with Tad when I casually spoke with him about Sonja, he demurred.  He didn’t want to talk about it because I’m sure he thought I wouldn’t understand.  Or, he thought that he would sound silly for believing in Dr. Doolittle.  But, he had no fears here because I do believe in Dr. Doolittle.  (Gee, even admitting that to all of you makes me feel silly, too…)  C’mon in here closer and I’ll tell you —  to be honest, I was ready to not believe.  As a producer, I was wondering if Sonja’s show on Animal Planet was rigged or whatever.  Have you seen the movie LEAP OF FAITH with Debra Winger and Steve Martin?  Well, that movie had a huge impact on me.  It tells the story of a criminal evangelist that rigged his shows to fool unsuspecting believers out of their money.  So, I had to check it out for myself.  I called Sonja and set up a reading…  When Sonja was reading my animals, she had a tough nut to crack.  I was waiting to uncover the Steve Martin character from Leap of Faith.  But, I gotta tell you,  she was right on.  It was scary good.  I believe in Dr. Doolittle, too.

Anyway, back to Tad.  I asked him if he thought Sonja understood his animals, not letting him know that I knew about Sonja at all.  Tad got really quiet and smiled and told me it was the best horse day of his life…  He said he started as a skeptic and then became a believer.  The fun part about this is that Tad is not a woo-woo kinda guy as you will see.  And in the video, he gets excited to tell the stories of what his horses said! (embedded video, better quality for sure!)  Oh, the woman in the video (You Tube version) is his wife.  She was lovely, too.

So, watch the video (sorry about the poor editing on my part…) and then check out Sonja, if you’d like.  My reading was awesome and so was Tad’s.  Here is her website. (No affiliation with either Tad or Sonja)

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Start ’em Young! Tad Griffith’s trick ridin’ kids!


I am showing this video today because I want you all to feel inspired…

This is a video of three tiny, trick riding kids.  They are 11, 8 and 6 respectively.  (You need to watch it!)

Once you watch this video, I can hear what you will probably be saying to yourselves…

“Those kids are too young to know fear.”  And,  “those kids have been around horses all their lives.”  Or, “they’re just kids and they have free time to work at it every day.”    Well, I hear you…  However, I do know that they do know fear, everyone does.  I also know that they have been around  horses all their lives but that doesn’t make them automatically great riders.  And, yes, they do make time to do this after going to school, doing homework, school activities and all the ranch chores.  So, basically, they are just like you and me.  The great part is that they have someone telling them to “Get out there and practice!” which I so wish I had around here.  I wish I had someone kicking my sorry hiney away from the computer and out with my horses for an hour of practice every day.  Imagine how good I’d be at whatever it was I ended up doing with them…  Anyway, all that practice made them very good riders and now they love, love, love it!

Who is the person helping these kids practice and teaching them the safe and proper way to do this?   The legendary Tad Griffith, trick and stunt rider/trainer.


I have featured Tad before in his Roman Riding video and also his Training video — where he is training himself, not training the audience.  (I was there while he was rehearsing at home so I videoed it.)


Anyway, today I’m showing you the video of his three kids from their very first performance, ever, at the FIESTA OF THE SPANISH HORSE this year.  (They also have a family friend showing with them.) You should watch closely to see how Tad’s sons emulate their Dad’s performance moves.  But, you should also look closely to watch these earnest little horses!  They just kill me!  Especially the youngest son’s horse… he is just awesome in his ponyness!  What a little devil!  He does his job but towards the end, this little stinker ducks under the ropes to cut the corner… and that stoic 6 year old boy just rides through it.  No worries!

But, I also want you to look at suitability to rider.  These three individual ponies are perfect for these three individual kids.  I betcha the littlest boy wants the biggest horse but he doesn’t get the biggest horse.  He gets the horse that fits him.  Too cute!

So Readers, watch this and remember when you didn’t stop yourself from doing adventurous stuff…   Remember what it was like to get so wrapped up in some activity that you wanted to do it all the time.  For me, it was memorizing soundtracks from movies.  For my brother, it was slot cars.  What was it for you?  Well, whatever your passion, remember how you gave yourself permission to totally engross yourself in it.

Then go out and squeeze a horse and dream about what you could do together if you practice, practice, practice.   It might put that big ‘ol school kid grin back on your face!

Click on the image to watch these incredible stunt rider kids!

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