On the west coast of Ireland, boys don’t want to be home-run sluggers or Olympic stars. They dream of winning horse races. “Five Stone of Lead,” directed by Jonny Madderson, gives a glimpse into the world of one such amateur jockey, a 12-year-old named Dylan. Comparatively smaller than most jockeys, Dylan must wear a weighted vest to stay competitive, but his goal is clear. “My dream’s to be a champion jockey. That’s it,” he says, matter-of-factly.
The short film was constructed with the “show, don’t tell” aphorism in mind; in an interview with Just So London, Madison explained that “A lot of documentaries tell the audience what’s happening rather than show them — everything is explained and it doesn’t make you feel anything.” Clips of Dylan training — running late at night, boxing and jumping rope — are superimposed against old family videos of a much younger Dylan, learning to ride a horse. The film culminates at the Glenbeigh Races, a grassroots beach race in County Kerry, where Dylan competes against jockeys who are older, stronger and more experienced. The film is just as much about coming-of-age as it is about perseverance, as Madison notes. “We just tried to make a simple story about a young lad taking on a big challenge and growing up along the way.”