A tragedy has occurred on the set of Amazon’s The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: A production horse perished during rehearsals for a season 2 scene.
The horse died on March 21 of cardiac arrest, the studio confirmed.
“We are deeply saddened to confirm that a production horse died,” an Amazon Studios spokesperson said. “The incident took place in the morning whilst the horse was being exercised prior to rehearsals. The trainer was not in costume and filming had yet to commence. Both a veterinarian and a representative of the American Humane Association were present at the time. The independent necropsy has confirmed that the horse died of cardiac failure.”
The horse was one of about 30 on set on that day, all supplied by respected provider The Devil’s Horsemen. This is apparently the first on-set animal fatality in the company’s 50-year history. The horse is said to have shown no prior health problems and was standing among 20 other horses before it died.
In general, productions have become far more careful about the treatment of animals over the last two decades. Yet any accident, regardless of fault, tends to result in at least some negative publicity amid an ongoing push by animal activists for productions to use CG instead of live animals whenever possible. One of the most notorious incidents was on HBO’s 2012 horse-racing drama Luck, where three horses died during production and the network canceled the show after one season due to animal safety concerns.
The Rings of Power has been filming its second season for months in the U.K. and has announced many new cast members joining the series. The first season’s eight episodes were released last spring and quickly became the streamer’s most-watched original series, racking up more than 24 billion minutes streamed. The Rings of Power tells the story of Middle-earth’s second age. The second season is expected to hit Prime Video in 2024.