Believe & Achieve
A Biopic about Ben Atkinson
by Michael Collin
Plus a link to Ben’s World Record attempt for Highest Jump while Roman Riding. BBC’s Officially Amazing Season 4 Episode 10.
I am a fan of Ben Atkinson and the stunt team he has helped his father, Mark Atkinson, build over the past few years. I’ve been lucky enough to get to know Ben, Mark and the team a little over the past three years, including doing a ‘Behind the Scenes’ article with them in 2013.
There are many articles on my Blog about Ben and Atkinson Action Horses. You may have seen them in BBC’s Jamaica Inn or Poldark. Members of the team also appeared in BBC’s Merlin and HBO’s Game of Thrones.
Ben is 22 years old and a consummate professional rider. He trains his horses and has trained riders – though he readily admits he by far prefers training the horses.
Last Summer he gave demonstrations each Wednesday for six weeks showing different training techniques.
Ben trains horses worldwide for Film, TV and live shows. On his Facebook Page there are many videos showing some of the horses he has trained, not all of the horses are his own and it is amazing what he can achieve in only a day or two with horses he had not previously met.
As I say I’ve known Ben for three years now and I’ve seen his horses at close quarters. His training regime relies on mutual trust and respect ant though you may see what look like whips in his hands they are merely prompts for the horses with merely a touch used and a flick of the wrist to move the end of the whip, usually as a visual aid only. He can make a trained Stallion turn, walk or run with these visual aids and a few voice commands. Stallions (un-neutered male) are harder to work than a Mare (un-neutered female) or Gelding (neutered male) – Mares are rarely spayed (neutered).
As I said earlier Ben is in BBC’s Poldark as the stunt double for star Aiden Turner. Ths has lead to a much greater profile and you may also have seen him on Lucy Worsley’s Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing
You can see some photos from the Horse Training shows, by my friend Kelly Fowler, in another article. That article includes embeded videos of Ben training horses as well as show-reels from Atkinson Action Horses and individually for Ben, Mike and a past member of the team, stuntman Zachary Roberts.
Here is the main feature of this article – Believe & Achieve starring Ben Atkinson.
Bonus Roman Riding World Record Attempt by Ben Atkinson
This was done for the CBBC show Officially Amazing and the link takes you to the full show on BBC iPlayer – sorry it won’t work outside the UK. Ben’s segment is the first World Record attempt in the show.
Roman Riding is the art of riding two horses at the same time while stood up, with one foot on the back of each horse. This is Ben’s signature stunt while mounted – he also does stunts with horses at Liberty, in other-words unmounted.