Rachel Nichols: Working with Conan the Barbarian Horses Was a Wild Ride

08/01/2011 at 01:00 PM EDT

Conan the Barbarian Star Rachel Nichols Feared Riding Movie Horses
Rachel Nichols
Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic
Rachel Nichols has performed her fair share of action sequences in films like Star Trek and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. But to play the leading lady in the upcoming Conan the Barbarian remake, the actress faced a whole new set of challenges.

"I had to learn how to ride a horse," Nichols told reporters at a Conan the Barbarian press event at Comic-Con in San Diego. "I had to learn first on a tether, going around a little ring, and then I had to learn to do everything: gallop, ride bareback, and then drive a carriage. I did all of it."

Nichols, who'd never ridden a horse before arriving in Romania to shoot the film, admits her first foray into equestrianism was a bit fear tinged. "It was kind of this wild ride, and then I quickly learned you can't be afraid on the horse," she says. "The horse can tell, and the horse will make you its b---h. So you have to sort of flip it around."

But despite her best efforts, Nichols couldn't overcome her anxiety regarding one particular equine: Rodolfo, the horse that was paired up with "Jason Momoa, the 6-ft. 4-in., 230-lb. star of Conan.

"It was huge," she says of the horse. "It was so big and so ornery – and I'm still scared of it today! ... I can't ride Rodolfo."

Rodolfo aside, Nichols quickly developed a passion for riding the beautiful animals. "It was so much fun, and I now love riding horses," she says.

The actress even had the opportunity to ride again while visiting Peru for two weeks, an experience she describes as "pretty amazing."

But don't expect the Nichols to join an equestrian club anytime soon. "Horses take a lot of money to maintain," she says. "I'm not that rich!"

Can't get enough pet news? See more on PEOPLE Pets

We the Kings Singer's Dog Has Scissorhands

Ian Somerhalder Goes to Washington for Animals

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Lupita Nyong'o: Most Beautiful!
  • Chelsea Clinton is Pregnant!
  • Exclusive Royal Tour Diary

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners

Watch It

Latest Photos

Stars and Their Pets

Gavin's Pooch Pick-Me-Up

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters