Story by Johnny Oleksinski as published on NYPost.com
“I must say that Capt. Kirk and I share several mutual passions regardin our feelings for our brother/sister equines friends. But his celebrity status aside, we do differ on one glaring obvious issue: he has hair and I do not…sigh.” ~ R.T.
William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk on “Star Trek” for three seasons and seven movies, is peeling back yet another layer of his complex personality: He’s come out as an equestrian.
Hollywood’s jack-of-all-trades, Shatner is a Shakespearean actor who’s starred in “Henry V,” a musician who’s recorded trippy spoken-word covers of “Rocket Man” and “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and a prolific author who’s written or co-written more than 30 books.
Now the 86-year-old opens up about his love of horses — a passion so all-encompassing that he’s devoted his latest book, “Spirit of the Horse: A Celebration in Fact and Fable” (out now, Thomas Dunne Books), to the beasts.
Here are four ways Shatner boldly trots.
Horses haunt his dreams
“My own sleep is sometimes filled with Centaur-like imagery of being one with the horse,” Shatner writes. “It will start with me atop the horse galloping across the field, the horse’s head visible ahead, his eyes becoming my eyes as if it were me galloping.”
The stable is his church
“I have been to truly sacred and highly spiritual places. I’ve been in sweat lodges, I’ve been in smoke ceremonies where a shaman drifts smoke over you, I’ve been at the confluence of several mountains near Mount Everest where there was a great Buddhist temple,” Shatner writes. But all those left him cold. “For most people — perhaps all? — wherever they love to be, that place is a cathedral to them … For me, it’s a stable.”
He talked horses with Christopher Reeve during Reeve’s worst moments
Some years after Christopher Reeve was paralyzed in 1995 by a horse riding accident, Shatner visited the “Superman” actor’s rehab facility in West Orange, NJ. “[Chris] couldn’t walk, he had no control over his body below his neck, he couldn’t even breathe without a ventilator,” Shatner says. “He said with his first breath, in about three phrases, ‘Tell me. How your horses are. And how much you love riding.’ Those words, the intonation, the longing he put into them — they will stay with me always.”
His favorite day on “Star Trek” wasn’t on the ship
For “Star Trek” Season 1’s episode “Shore Leave,” Shatner and Leonard Nimoy filmed an Old West-type scene alongside a peaceful horse. Its beauty has stayed with him forever. “Standing near a settled horse, with no pressure to do anything other than absorb the morning and eat the [craft services] sandwich, that was magic.”