A group of dancing Spanish horses will make a rare trip to Britain later this year, as one of the star attractions of the London International Horse Show at Olympia.
It is the first time in 40 years that the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art – one of only four ‘High Schools’ of its kind in the world – has crossed the channel. The school attracts visitors from around the world to its home in Jerez De La Frontera, in south-west Spain.
The other schools are the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna, the Portuguese School of Equestrian Art and The Cadre Noir in Saumur, France.
At Olympia this December, the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art will bring a touch of Spanish magic to one of the oldest shows on the international circuit.
The school’s famous equestrian ballet show is titled ‘How the Andalusian Horses Dance’ and combines classic dressage with Doma vaquero, the traditional working riding discipline of Spain. The display is brought to life by vibrant Spanish music and authentic 18th-century style costumes.
The stunning white and bay stallions used by the school are all pure Spanish PRE (Pura Raza Española) horses. The breed has been native to the Iberian Peninsula for 3000 years and their poise and nobility made them a tool of diplomacy by the Spanish government and used by Kings across Europe for centuries.
Today, they are renowned for their agility and striking beauty, with their strong but elegant build and long, thick manes and tails. Each horse at the Andalusian school must complete at least four years of training before they are fully capable of mastering the complicated techniques and ready to perform in front of an audience.
The Royal Andalusian School will be thrilling the crowd twice a day throughout the Olympia week, from DEcember 16 to 22, in a shortened version of their famous show. On Monday, December 16, Olympia is presenting ‘The High School Gala Evening’ which will give visitors the opportunity to see the school’s full exhibition. The complete repertoire will include technical and intricate equestrian moves in advanced dressage, traditional Spanish country skills, driving and work in-hand. A show-stopping group display of horses and riders finally come together in unison to complete the magnificent performance.
The repetoire will include:
- Doma vaquera: The rider drives the horse around the arena using only one hand, from trotting to galloping, changing rhythm and performing pirouettes and arreones. These are movements needed in the country when handling cattle herds.
- Classical dressage: Horses carry out advanced equestrian exercises, always in time with pieces of classical music which accompany them.
- Driving: A demonstration of the exciting skills of carriage driving. These horse-drawn carriages, originally used for transport but these days relegated to sport and exhibitions, are driven by coachmen using classical harnesses.
- Work in hand: Classical high school dressage exercises such as levade, capriole, courbette, piaffe (between pillars), the Spanish walk and long rein, all completed by the horse with the rider on foot.
- Carrousel: A group of horses and riders, in unison, perform advanced equestrian exercises in the arena to provide a most fitting end to the performance.
Tickets for Olympia start at £35 each and discounts for groups, children and concessions apply for certain performances.
More information: www.olympiahorseshow.com or telephone the box office on 0871 230 5580.