Trained with love

SISTERS Freda Nicholls from Gundagai and Zelie Bullen from the Gold Coast.
SISTERS Freda Nicholls from Gundagai and Zelie Bullen from the Gold Coast.
Love, Sweat and Tears

Love, Sweat and Tears

GUNDAGAI journalist and farmer Freda Nicholls has teamed up with her famous sister Zelie Bullen to pen an inspirational story.

Zelie is best known for her work in the epic Steven Spielberg film War Horse.

She also trained animals for other well known movies including Racing Stripes and Charlotte’s Web.

The book titled Love, Sweat and Tears tells the story of Zelie’s childhood and the life-changing events that lead her to an accomplished career doing what she enjoys most.

Her ability to overcome depression, which was the result of a sequence of tragic events and an affinity for animals that dates back to childhood forms the basis of the well-told story.

There is plenty of excitement provided from her work as a stunt woman and an animal trainer.

throughout her school years, Zelie collected as many animals as her mother would allow, and began learning about their communication and hierarchy just by being around them.

Zelie has worked as an animal trainer and stunt woman in the film and television industry for over 20 years.

Zelie said she had experienced many career highlights.

“War Horse was a very difficult and fairly draining film to work on, we all worked under high pressure and had various complications,” she said.

“Having said that, one of my career highlights was definitely Steven Spielberg words to me when we hugged goodbye which are quoted on the back cover of our book,” she said.

Despite her affinity with animals she says it is difficult to pick a favourite.

“I really enjoy working with all animals although I seem to have a fairly good understanding of certain animals, horses for example, and I do love cheetah and lions,” she said.

The most important pre-requisites for working with animals according to Zelie are “feel”, timing, knowledge and experience.

She said animal training was definitely something young people could aspire to but in reality not many were able to make a full time living out of it. 

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