Abandoning Her Fears: Carlotta Montanari heals horses and herself

By Christina Fuoco-Karasinski

Carlotta Montanari was a successful actress and TV host in the United States and Italy when, in 2019, she had an epiphany during a commercial shoot.

She wanted to work with horses.

That year, in Los Angeles, she founded Four Legs on Set, a company that rents high-quality steeds for film productions, private photo shoots, portfolio building, print ads, commercials, music videos and other events.

Montanari offers a variety of breeds, colors and riding styles, including dancing horses, trick-trained horses that lay down, rear, paw and nod on command. The stable includes Friesian horses and stallions, Andalusians, Lusitanos, draft, Arabians, paints, quarter horses, warmbloods and thoroughbreds.

“My life has changed, and I changed the lives of these horses,” Montanari says.

“I work with horses who are forgotten or horses who have been having previously ‘difficult’ life. I put ‘difficult’ in quotes. A ‘difficult’ horse can have so many meanings. I have horses falling in my lap. I started a healing journey. I realized the horse wasn’t just healing and finding happiness. I was, too. It became a double meaning for me. These ‘difficult’ horses end up being the best horses to work with because of their sensitivity.”

Montanari and her horses will make an appearance at America’s Greatest Polo Party – The Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships: Presented by Talking Stick Resort, on Saturday, November 5, at WestWorld of Scottsdale.

“I am honored to be asked to be part of an event of this size and share a little something with my horses in a new way besides the Hollywood cameras,” Montanari says.

“I hope it will be a pleasant experience for the public.”

More than 13,000 fans showed up in 2021 for the one-day polo event. New for 2022 is Prosecco and Popcorn by Harkins Theatres, Grimaldi’s Pizza Disco, an expanded Scottsdale Charro Lounge, a special appearance by “Elvis,” former Arizona Coyotes captain Shane Doan will take the field, and an on-site boat and plane display.

“There is always something for everyone at the Bentley Scottsdale Polo Championships,” says Jason Rose, founder and owner.

“Whether you are rich or poor, Black or white, or young or old, we provide a diversity of experiences beyond polo. Besides the four action-packed polo matches, guests can also enjoy fashion shows, including those of the canine variety; performances by the Phoenix Boys Choir, Arizona Opera, a top saxophonist, jazz bands and DJs; and displays of dozens of collector and exotic cars led by Bentley Scottsdale and Barrett-Jackson.”

Montanari, who rode horses as a child in Italy, says the animals teach and mentor her. Her first horse with Four Legs on Set was a rescue, Mambo. She is interested in working with and rehabbing “difficult” horses.

The Four Legs on Set name has grown and fallen among the roster of the best Hollywood wranglers and trainers. It has become a well-known equine agency in Los Angeles and now the North Valley.

Early years

Montanari was born and raised in Rimini, Italy. After graduating Institute of Arts Federico Fellini, she moved to Rome to pursue a career in television and film.

She starred as the host of several live shows for Rai, Endemol and Mediaset, while acting in theater on the side, and before deciding to pursue a career on the silver screen in Hollywood.

“I’ve been in entertainment for a long time, almost 26 years,” she says. “I was very young when I started hosting and modeling in Italy. After graduating art school, I moved to LA to continue my career there.

“Life is incredible when you follow your heart. I would never have gotten to this point if I didn’t have all the knowledge in the production world.”

The move to the United States provided a massive life change for her.

“I learned English, and one day, three and a half years ago, I was cast for a national commercial with horses,” she says. “I fell in love that day. I could work with my two big loves — the movie industry and horses. This was the best day ever. I felt so fulfilled.”

A few weeks later, she embarked on a new adventure as an entrepreneur with Four Legs on Set. At first, it was for fun, but it quickly turned serious, with her horses in campaigns for Chanel, Beyoncé and the Kardashians.

“I’m giving forgotten horses a purpose — to shine again and give happiness,” she says. “I am spreading their beauty and wonderful power through the art, the movie industry, commercials and photography.

“God brought me this opportunity. Before I knew it, my company ended up owning many more horses, and we’re representing other horses that are not mine. The horses blow people away.”

She says her horses have become celebrities, and stars who are nervous around the animals feel comfortable.

“They look natural,” she says. “The result is the success of the work. It looks just perfectly organic in only a few hours. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never ridden a horse. I can make it look like you have always been doing this.

“You have to trust me 100%. You can be Madonna, the girl next door, whomever. You have to abandon your fears and really trust me. That’s when the horse feels that they’re going to be safe.”

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