Most people have at least once in their life dreamed of spending Valentine’s Day with a movie star, but for Ashley Waller the dream will become a reality. Movie goers around the world will be introduced to an equine actor, the Andalusian Stallion Listo, who is sure to become a star and Waller is thrilled. “He is a talented and wonderful horse who is as gentle and kind behind the camera as he is in front,” said Waller, of Beaumont, Texas about one of the leading actors in Winter’s Tale. The film opens today in movie theaters across America and while the movie’s human stars – Collin Farrell, Russell Crowe and Jessica Brown Findlay – may be what initially attracts people to the film, Listo is sure to win the hearts of movie goers. The 14-year-old stallion plays the role of an equine guardian angel in the film and Waller, who recently purchased the movie star horse from Cari Swanson and Rex Peterson, says he’s every bit the angel off screen as he is on.
“He makes everyone who meets him smile,” Waller said. “He really is portraying himself in the film because he is very sweet and never aggressive, not even around other stallions. He is like the guardian angel in the file, so gentle and wonderful. The minute you meet him you understand that there is something really different about him.” Trained by Swanson and Peterson for film work, Listo moved to Texas in December to be with Waller. Waller said the stallion is truly a natural star. “He loves to stand and pose for the camera.”
Waller came into contact with Swanson and Peterson through mutual friends who own horses that were in the Lone Ranger movie. She had been looking for an Iberian for some time and Swanson suggested she try Listo. “As soon as I saw him, I knew he was the horse for me,” Waller said. She said she’s thrilled that the world will soon come to know Listo through the movie. “He lifts the spirits of everyone who meets him and soon he will be able to share spirit with the world through the movie,” Waller said.
Although no longer part of Swanson and Peterson’s string of equine movie stars, Listo’s celebrity days are not over. Waller and her family are very active in charity work and she said that Listo will be busy attending charity events, particularly ones for children. “We’re excited that he’ll be able to contribute to supporting charities by doing some meet and greet events,” she said.
In between his public appearance, Listo is busy with his dressage training. The stallion is spending the breeding season at Haras dos Cavaleiros in Magnolia, Texas where he is being ridden by dressage trainer Antonio García Roldán from Medina Sidonia, Spain.
But the equine movie star actually has a group of riders that includes not only Waller but also her 10-year-old daughter Madison and seven-year-old daughter Emily. Madison and Listo now train with Tiago Ernesto of Lisbon, Portugal, who is the head trainer at Haras dos Cavaleiros.
"I just received a call from Cari Swanson who has just seen the movie with the cast and crew." said Waller yesterday. "They say it is wonderful! She said Listo's parts are just breathtaking! Listo by the way has received credit for portraying Athansor in the film. "
So this Valentine’s Day, go see Winter’s Tale and fall in love with an equine star.