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Beauty, power and grace: that’s horse sport

Equestrian sport and ballet met face to face in spectacular fashion earlier this week for a photoshoot to launch the start of the FEI World Cup Finals in Lyon, France, running from Thursday to Monday.

US rider Charlie Jacobs demonstrates the power and athleticism of his sport, alongside Liudmila Khitrova from the Minsk Bolshoi, ahead of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final.

US rider Charlie Jacobs demonstrates the power and athleticism of his sport, alongside Liudmila Khitrova from the Minsk Bolshoi, ahead of the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final. © FEI/Hamish Brown

Britain’s double Olympic dressage gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin and US showjumper Charlie Jacobs were joined by dancers from the world-famous Minsk Bolshoi ballet at Lyon’s Eurexpo, venue for this week’s Longines FEI World Cup Jumping and Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals.

Dancers from the Minsk Bolshoi, performing Swan Lake at the Lyon Amphitheatre in Lyon as part of a nationwide French tour, took time out from their schedule to showcase the parallels between ballet and equestrian sport – the poise and grace of the dancers and the athleticism and beauty of the horses.

World number one dressage rider Dujardin, dubbed the girl with the dancing horse after claiming double gold at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Valegro said: “I’m very very excited to be here in Lyon and today has been a real experience.”

Dujardin, who was totally spellbound by the evening performance of Swan Lake after the photoshoot, is competing in her first Reem Acra FEI World Cup Dressage Finals and will be dancing to new music with her horse in Sunday’s Freestyle competition.

“I’ve got brand new music that I’ve never competed to before, first time competing to it, but it’s a great floor plan and I love the music,” the triple world record holder said.

Massachusetts-born Jacobs, whose family owns the NHL professional ice hockey team, the Boston Bruins (Sports Business Journal’s 2012 Sports Team of the Year), said: “The photoshoot was drawing some similarities between the ballerinas and the jumping of the horses here. They’re very similar in terms of athletic ability; they’re very delicate but they’re very powerful.”

Making his debut at the Longines FEI World Cup Jumping Final, Jacobs is keen to put up a good showing this week: “I have my fingers crossed, and my toes! It’s a very big week for us.”

Charlotte Dujardin  with Kanstantsin Geronik from the Minsk Bolshoi ballet.

Charlotte Dujardin with Kanstantsin Geronik from the Minsk Bolshoi ballet. © FEI/Hamish Brown

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