Gala of Royal Horses to parade into ToledoWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Manes flying, hooves sparkling — 15 magnificent, bold horses will dance and prance Sept. 13 at Huntington Center.
By chance, 2014 is the Year of the Horse, according to the Chinese calendar.
It’s just by coincidence that Rene Gasser brought the Gala of the Royal Horses to the States for its American debut eight months ago.
“The audiences have been absolutely fantastic,” he said. “The people are so grateful for us to bring these horses to the United States because usually you only see these in Vienna or Spain or Holland.”
Historically, these horses of Europe were associated with nobility.
“You’ve got those beautiful Andalusian, Friesian horses, Lipizzaner — it’s that regal look. And when they perform, people just can’t get enough of them,” Gasser said.
And the horses turn it on when they gallop into the spotlight.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘Do they like performing?’ And oh my god, yes. The audience can actually tell when they watch them,” Gasser said. “The horses are definitely characters.”
During a call from a tour stop in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Gasser’s love for the animals was evident.
“We have 15 horses on one big trailer and I drive it myself. It’s 53 feet long, and it’s been specially made. It’s got all air-ride suspension, so you can’t feel any bumps in the road,” he said. “And it’s got special vents on it so it’s all nice and cool for them.”
Cameras in the trailer allow for constant monitoring of the four-legged athletes.
“They’re the rock stars of the horse world, so we try to give them that treatment,” Gasser said and laughed.
Headliners set to perform in Toledo are Lipizzaners Ringo, Mozart, Maestro, Baby, Bona and Bonavista; Friesians Gharred, Armani and Rico; Andalusians Jerano, Quintero, Habano, Bandero and Coco; and the Arabian Marcus.
“My family goes back seven generations working with horses,” said Gasser, a riding master who created the show. “The traditional movements for the horses of war all have been for the military, and we are using it for the living art. But at the time, all of the movements had a purpose.”
He offered an example.
“The air above the ground is where the horse goes up on its back legs and he jumps up into the air and kicks out with all four legs. That would be used to, if you were surrounded by your enemy, the horse would actually jump up in the air and kick all its legs out at once and that would make room for you to get away,” Gasser said.
That spectacular showstopper is usually performed by Lipizzaners, he added.
“Horses are very, very sensible animals. You can’t push [training] on them too hard. If it’s done correct, it’s so beautiful to watch,” Gasser said. “It takes a long time and a lot of energy and patience.”
There will be music and flamenco dancers to accompany the display of equine artistry and grace.
The Gala of the Royal Horses will take place at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at Huntington Center. Tickets range from $40 to $90.
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