Editor’s Note: Since this story originally ran in the June 2009 issue of America’s Horse, we thought we’d give Bobby Brooks a call to find out how his movie star horse is doing. Bobby reports that “Blue” is now serving the family as the junior rodeo horse for his daughters, Libby Claire and Elle Margaret.
“He’s just a horse we ride,” Bobby says, but he admits that Blue still gets his fair share of the limelight.
“Everywhere (Blue) goes, he still gets people who want to get their picture with him,” Bobby says with a laugh. “If I go to a ropin’, people ask if kids can sit on him and get their picture made. That (kind of thing) has been a constant.”
American Quarter Horse Blue Steel Man might just have the best of both worlds – much like his co-star in the 2009 film “Hannah Montana: The Movie.”
In the movie, singing sensation Miley Cyrus plays Miley Stewart, a normal teen whose alter-ego is the wildly popular pop star Hannah Montana.
For “Blue,” he’s a norma lteam roping horse and family pet who morphed into a popular movie star named “Blue Jeans” when scouts spotted him at a United States Team Roping Championships event not far from Nashville, Tennessee, where the Hannah Montana movie was mostly filmed.
After the movie came out, Blue scored an invitation to QuarterFest, AQHA’s inaugural equine expo, which was held May 1-3, 2009, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, not far from Blue’s home. He held court on the Walk of Fame, alongside other equine celebrities, including Keepin Charge, who starred in the Western “Appaloosa.”
When he was doing the casting for the Hannah Montana movie, head wrangler Rusty Hendrickson said he was looking for a small, pretty grayhorse. The 14.3-hand Blue Steel Man fit the bill.
“He’s a nice horse,” Rusty says. And Miley “was very affectionate to him and gave him a lot of petting and rubbing. … A young girl and horses are a pretty good combination.”
But Blue Jeans, er, Blue, has had plenty of experience with affection from young girls.
His owner, Bobby Brooks of Franklin, Tennessee, has two young daughters, Libby Claire and Elle Margaret. Both of them like to ride, and not surprisingly, both of them are huge Hannah Montana fans.
Bobby says Blue is “very broke and very safe. I’ve got two daughters who like to ride. I can’t have anything that’s not safe for my kids to be around.” He expects it to be a proud moment when he sees his daughters riding Blue in junior rodeos in a few years.
Already, he’s pretty proud of what his home-raised and -trained horse has done.
“Nobody else has ever done anything with him but me. I’m proud of him. … He’s very pretty to look at, a correct-made Quarter Horse. He’s just got a real big hindquarters, and he’s very well-proportioned. He’s pretty.”
Miley echoed those thoughts when she rode up to Bobby aboard Blue. “She just told me she loved him and thought he was beautiful,” he says.
Unfortunately, Bobby’s girls didn’t get a chance to meet their idol, but they saw Miley at the Nashville premiere of “Hannah Montana: The Movie.” And, there on the big screen, the Brooks family, which includes Bobby’s wife, Lori, also saw Blue as his movie role called for him to carry luggage, get chased across a field and remain remarkably calm as a helicopter flew over his head.
“He did great in every way during the movie,” Bobby says. And seeing him on that screen “was real neat. It was a pretty proud moment. It was kind of like one of my kids being up there. He was outstanding.”