How do they do horse falling scenes these days?

In older movies they would trip horses or otherwise bring them to the ground for dramatic effect in battle scenes, but how do they do that nowawdays given the attention paid to animal welfare? AIUI you can’t do that these days, but it seems you still see it in some movies.

I can’t think of all the times I’ve seen it for properly state my case, but two that come to mind are these scenes from Django Unchained and The Magnificent Seven (2016). The scenes don’t look like CGI, and although there are many cuts, in TMS it does appear the horse is taken to the ground when D’Onofrio’s stuntman leaps on the rider. How are they doing these stunts?

Some are CGI, but for real falls, the horses are trained to fall down. It will usually be into a specially prepared spot with extra padding. And often the “fall” is a relatively slow lying down, which is then sped up to make it look dramatic. See here.

Some of it might be CGI. The best CGI is the stuff that you don’t realize is CGI.

They can also use trained stunt horses. Here are some trained horses falling over on command.

Attempting these with an untrained horse would probably result in an injured horse.

You can’t park that animal over there! It’s illegal! That was from 1974, and clearly involves a very well-trained horse. Can the OP point to an “older movie” where horses were brought to the ground involuntarily?

In Django Unchained it was all training and choreography, essentially. There’s an extra on the DVD that goes into this in detail.

I read somewhere that during the filming of the 1939 Henry King film, Jesse James, a horse was forced to jump off a cliff into a raging river and was killed as a result.

The device used to make the horse fall was a slippery platform called a “tilt shute”, which, when tilted up, forced the horse to slip off the cliff.

Wow. I had no idea there were horses trained to do that.

The most famous was the silent film version of Ben Hur, which killed an estimated 100-150 horses.

The horses killed in Jesse James were wearing blinders with eyes painted on, so they couldn’t see that they were being run off a 75-foot cliff.

Heaven’s Gate from 1980 was also notorious for animal cruelty.

They can do pretty much everything other than humans in CGI nowadays. Humans aren’t inherently any harder than any other animals; it’s just that our brains are wired to be really, really good at recognizing humans, so any slight imperfections stand out more. But we’re not so good at detecting imperfect horses.

From there, it’s just a question of cost, whether it’s cheaper to use a real live trained stunt horse or a CGI model of one. Right now, the real horse is usually cheaper, but that may change soon, and there are some things a real horse just can’t do no matter how well it’s trained.

I can’t find a clip of it, but in Support Your Local Sheriff James Garner strings a rope across the main road and trips the horses of of a gang charging into town.

You also have the ending of My Name is Nobody where horses look to go down pretty hard.

The 1936 movie of *The Charge Of The Light Brigade * was one where a lot of horses were fatally injured making it.

In Braveheart and I’m sure other movies they also mixed in practical effects using fake horses on tracks.

In the bad old days, they’d make a horse fall by having them trip over a hidden wire. Or by digging a hole, covering it up, and guiding the horse into it. Sometimes the rider would jerk on the reins, causing the horse to stumble.

Plenty of horses were killed or had to be put down after the trick. The ASPCA got involved and ended the practice (though some productions will ignore the rules if they think they can get away with it).

I knew in Braveheart they used effects and fake horses, but I know see they also used trained horses. In this clip you can see all three in play.

Quasi-autobiographical description by the writer Ralph Moody of stunt-riding “horse falls” on poor-quality “disposable” horses at an Arizona cowboy-movie filming location shortly after the end of WWI.

I once heard a talk from a historical consultant for the movie Gettysburg. He was surprised to see that the many “dead horses” littering the battlefield were very realistic, hollow plastic models that a single man could easily pick up and move around, as needed.

Not the OP, but apparently 1976’s The Missouri Breaks is Exhibit A in How Not To Treat Animals (Horses Especially) When Making A Movie.

I’ve seen “how we made the film” clips of epics with people carrying around dead horses on their heads. Movie dead horses are light!