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Watch: Horse Freaks Out in Exclusive Clip From Award-Winning Documentary ‘Unbranded’

Watch: Horse Freaks Out in Exclusive Clip From Award-Winning Documentary 'Unbranded'

READ MORE: Gravitas Ventures Acquires Award-Winning Adventure Doc ‘Unbranded’

Starting as a Kickstarter campaign, “Unbranded” has become an award-winning documentary and is set to be released in theaters and On Demand this weekend. The film took home the Audience Awards at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Film Festival — where it had its world premiere — and the Telluride Mountainfilm Festival this year. The movie was directed by Phillip Baribeau (“Mountain Men”), who also served as co-cinematographer with Korey Kaczmarek (“American River Renegades”).

The official film synopsis reads: “Sixteen mustangs, four men, one dream: to ride border to border, Mexico to Canada, up the spine of the American West. The documentary…tracks four fresh-out-of-college buddies as they take on wild mustangs to be their trusted mounts, and set out on the adventure of a lifetime. Their wildness of spirit, in both man and horse, is quickly dwarfed by the wilderness they must navigate: a 3000-mile gauntlet through five states that is equally indescribable and unforgiving. In this story of rugged independence, [the film] reveals the true interdependence of man, animal and nature.”

Gravitas Ventures will release the award-winning documentary feature in theaters nationwide and on VOD tomorrow, September 25. Watch the exclusive clip above and prepare to sympathize for the horses. 

READ MORE: Adventurers Face Danger in Exclusive ‘Unbranded’ Poster

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First, it’s spelled "cholla". If you watch the movie you’ll see they’re following trails from Mexico to Canada. Occasionally they were near roads but for the vast majority of the trip they were in back country, with four riders and a camera man. They occasionally had support people bring supplies but usually they were on their own.


They did not ride through there for the film. Believe me, they would have loved to have avoided that. In riding from Mexico to Canada on public land, your options are limited. Arizona was the toughest state for food and water and they did use Val, only in that state, to meet them with food and water for the horses.The camera crew, which was one cinematographer (sometimes 2) was the only crew they had. They used a sound pack on the horse named Luke for sound and put small mics on the boys. Incredibly difficult shoot for 6 months!

Sue Dooley

That chit hurts!!! Poor horse went crazy!


That is, stand off at a 45 degree angle.


It’s spelled Cholla, by the way, and this must have been filmed in the spring of the year, judging by the hedgehog cactus in bloom. Cholla is extremely painful, hurts more coming out than going in, and somebody probably allowed the first horse to put it’s head down, or got close enough to the cactus to cause it to attach itself to the bucking horse’s side, tail, girth, whatever. And, nobody who has been around horses in the desert or anywhere else would stand as close to the front of him while trying to pull cholla out. Desert riders carry a comb with at all times for just such an occasion, cos it’s easier to get the cactus off quickly. A sheath knife also works well, and standing off at a 54 degree angle from the horse’s shoulder will help to keep you getting hit in the face by a striking hoof. The horse running through the cholla probably needed to be sedated to get all the cactus out of him. Hope these guys are traveling with a vet.


The proper spelling is Cholla and having ridden many times in this terrain, some of these Cholla patches can be quite large. We usually avoid those for obvious reasons.


@Jen there were only one or two film crew pesent at any given time during the trip. They rode the same route as the young men. Planning their trail they wanted to ride through as much public land as possible, the choyas were unavoidable.

Linda Bingman

My horse got a choya in his lip but he turned to me to get it out!! Was nothing like that!


Any good horse person puts the safety of his horse first. I have ridden for over 50 years and would never put my horse around dangers like that but I have seen plenty of them do so and the horse and/or rider get seriously hurt.


Yes, they did ride through the choya for the film. Idk if you noticed but they are on a ROAD… Which they need for the CAMERAS and the CREW to make FILM. I’m positive there aren’t too many road choices that can accommodate what must have been a pretty big operation safely.

Luis Armienta

As a cowboy is foolish to ride your horse through this type of cactus name Choyas. why do they did this, just for the film?

JD baeza

An eventful jorney, no lie. But the pay off must be spectacular.. And I’m not talking money either fowlks.


broken bones?

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