But he worked with different thoroughbred actors for his latest movie War Horse.
Fourteen horses were used to tell the moving story of Devon stallion Joey, sold into the British Army in the First World War to the dismay of his devoted owner Albert.
And the equine stars display such emotional range on screen, cinema-goers will be moved to tears.
In the movie ? based on Michael Morpurgo's best-selling kids' novel ? the conflict, which claimed the lives of more than eight million horses, is seen from the perspective of the equine hero.
Bobby Lovgren, head trainer on War Horse, reckons the animal stars give in an Oscar-worthy turn.
He told The Sun: "It would be nice if there was an Oscar for horses. But it would be difficult to give it to 14 different ones."
One of the main horses was Bobby's own, Finder, who has already starred in the 2003 film Seabiscuit.
The 11-year-old animal performed one of the most heart-breaking scenes in War Horse, where Joey gets caught up in barbed wire between the trenches.
There were nine adult Joeys, two were foals and the other three were colts.
Finder was flown from Los Angeles to the set in Britain. The other horses were from England and some from Spain and Australia.
The animals all had different strengths.
Daniel Naprous, assistant horse master on the project, said: "There were those that were better at acting and those that were better at being action heroes.
"Finder is a little bit cheeky. I'm sure he wanted a bigger stable."
A team of 26 make-up artists made sure all 14 Joeys look the same on screen.
Ali Bannister, War Horse's equine artistic adviser, said: "Our job was to keep Joey's markings consistent.
"We had to put white markings in the right place and make sure the mud was where it should be."
She was also amazed by Finder's skills. Ali said: "I've never seen a horse that could look so angry and suddenly switch to eating grass."