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Q - Therapy Horse Film1a

Photo Special to Alachua County Today
Future therapy horse Anthem on the set of a new film, “And Then There Was Light,” with Burt Reynolds.  Anthem plays the character Light.

HIGH SPRINGS – One local three-month-old future therapy horse named Anthem plays the part of “Light” in a new film called, “And Then There Was Light,” starring Burt Reynolds.

Anthem is one of the Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses based in High Springs and known throughout the world for visiting children and others in hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and disaster sites to help people overcome physical and emotional traumas.

Negotiations were underway with George and Debbie Garcia-Bengochea even before Anthem was born to provide a horse for this movie. “Anthem was perfect for the role,” said Debbie. “With her white head, beautiful coloring and black inside her ears, she was a beautiful choice.”

The couple was allowed access on the set as scenes were shot with Anthem, which they both feel was a real treat. “Some of the movie was shot in the veterinary hospital at Southeastern Guide Dogs in Palmetto, Florida,” said Debbie.

“The remarkable thing about this movie is the producer and director were all women who are into making family-friendly movies,” she said.

The movie is a story of a young girl named Bailey, played by Avery Arendes, who defines herself by her equestrian abilities. Bailey loses her eyesight after a traumatic accident, and her parents enroll her to train at Southeastern Guide Dogs.

Bailey is unable to connect to anyone or anything until the head trainer, Charles, played by Reynolds, trains Apple, a miniature horse, to be her companion and surrogate eyes. Anthem plays the role of Light, Apple's foal.

Anthem is training as a therapy horse and was able to do some commands needed for the movie at her tender age.

The movie is expected to receive world-wide distribution and is currently slated for late fall release.

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