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Hallmark Channel Original Movie Features Story of Deserted Young Mother and Her Blind Horse, Premieres April 18

Horse Press Release

When her beloved horse is tragically blinded, a deserted and destitute young mother must harness her inner strength and build a brand new life for herself and her child in "The Long Shot" (Believe in Courage), a Hallmark Channel Original movie premiering Sunday, April 18 (9/8c). An encore presentation immediately follows at 11 p.m. E/P.

Annie Garrett (Julie Benz, "Angel"), her 7-year-old daughter Taylor (Gage Golightly, "A Carol Christmas") and their horse Tolo find themselves stranded and penniless in a strange town after Annie’s hot-headed husband Ross (John Livingston, "Ed TV") takes off without a trace. A gifted equestrian and horse whisperer, Annie earns much-needed money at the local equestrian center where she meets Mary Lou O’Brian (four-time Academy Award® nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner Marsha Mason, "The Goodbye Girl"), a legendary dressage champion.

Annie’s luck seems to change at Shamrock Farms where, under the guidance of Mary Lou and barn manager Guido Levits (two-time Golden Globe winner Paul Le Mat, "Melvin and Howard"), she decides to re-enter the world of competition. When a tragic accident leaves Tolo totally blind, Annie finally finds the courage to overcome the past, stand on her own, and prove that the bond of love is stronger than any adversity.

While some of the story is fictional, the part of the film that is decidedly factual is the relationship between Annie and Tolo, said Amy A. Gaston, the real-life inspiration for the screenplay. "The whole relationship between Tolo and the character Annie--that is completely me and him. He did go completely blind. His favorite things were cookies and I used those to help comfort him right after he went blind, to coax him out of the stall and get him to walk," she said.

"The Long Shot" (Believe in Courage) is a Hallmark Entertainment presentation. Robert Halmi, Jr. and Larry Levinson are executive producers and Nick Lombardo is co-executive producer. Steven Bridgewater and Al Dickerson are producers. Director is Georg Stanford Brown. Writer is David Alexander. The Hallmark Channel Original movie is a Hallmark Entertainment Presentation of a MAT IV Production in association with Alpine Medien and Larry Levinson Productions.

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