The Denver Center for the Performing Arts Blog

War Horse: Joey Facts & Figures


Andrew Veenstra, John Riddleberger, Patrick Osteen, Jessica Krueger1. The puppet (Joey), which weighs 120lbs, is handmade by 14 people. Its frame is mostly cane, soaked, bent and stained.

 2. An aluminum frame along the spine, lined partly with leather for comfort, allows the horse to be ridden.

3. Stretched, hosiery-like Georgette fabric makes up the “skin” beneath the frame.


Joey and the US National Tour of WAR HORSE4. A puppeteer at the head controls the ears and head; one in the heart controls breathing and front legs; a third in the hind controls the tail and back legs.

5. A harness connects the puppet’s and puppeteer’s spines so his or her movements become the breathing of the horse.

6. The tail and ears are moveable instead of the lips or eyelids, because that’s how horses usually express themselves.

Andrew Veenstra, Nick LaMedica, Laurabeth Breya, Catherine Gowl7. Two levers connected with bicycle brake cables control the leather ears.

8. The puppet, just under 10ft long and about 8ft tall, has about 20 major joints. Vertical levers curl the knees and lift the hooves.

9. The neck is made of carbon fiber glass for flexibility.

10. The eyes are black color behind clear resin so light refracts through them.

Christopher Mai, Derek Stratton, Rob Laqui11. The right hind lever moves the tail up and down; the left hind lever, left to right; moved together, it spirals.

 12. The hair in the mane and tail is made of Tyvek, a plastic-like paper. 

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