He was doubled by another Quarter Horse named Buck. When Cisco is ambushed and killed, he is doing a lay-down; stage blood and special effects were used for the bullet holes.
Kicking Bird, played by actor Graham Green, rode a pure white Indian pony with blue eyes, whose real name was Li’l Blue McGoo. In general, blue eyes don’t suit movie horses as they can’t handle the lights for very long. Fortunately, Li’l Blue didn’t have to stand for many close-ups so was fine.
This animal had an interesting, yet disturbing, back story: When the film finished he was sold to a person who wanted a trophy horse, but Blue was severely neglected. When he was finally saved in 2002 by Orphan Acres, a rescue centre in Idaho, he was very underweight, covered in sores and had a jaw abscess. After he regained his strength, Blue was put on an exercise program involving treadmills, walking, and being led on trail rides.
His health improved but never completely recovered due to the long-term neglect from the previous owner. His eye was removed in 2008 due to cancer, but he continued to enjoy his time with the other horses. He died in 2014. The centre said it had been an honour to provide the love and attention to Blue who was allowed to age gracefully.
For the film these leading horses had various patterns applied to their bodies. Cisco’s legs had zigzags representing lightning bolts believed to give the horse greater speed. ‘Blue’ had a ring painted around his eye, meant to enhance his vision, and blue patches with white dots on the shoulder and rump representing buffalo tracks, indicating the horse had participated in successful buffalo hunts in the past.