I’ve always been a bit horse crazy, and since I no longer work with them (BOO!) I soak up every moment I get to watch them in action. In the past few years Hanlon-Lees Action Theater (the company that provides knights, squires and horses to pretty much every Ren Faire in the country) has worked with Laura Amandis as the horse trainer for the Bristol horses (not sure about the other horses around the country). The end result is pretty much every horse you see the knights riding at Bristol Faire don’t use bits and Laura puts on a fairly nifty show twice a day with her personal horse, a grey Andalusian named Acierto. Needless to say, I get a little shutter happy during this show, sometimes with rather hilarious results.
We’ll start the beginning, here we have a “collected” canter. Not dressage ring worthy from my limited knowledge of dressage, but pretty flashy. Of course, the audience doesn’t get it.
Next, Acierto has been learning to do a Passage. This is the first time I’ve seen him do it and he’s a little bumpy in comparison to oh, say, an internationally competing horse, but again he is still damn impressive. And again, the audience doesn’t get it.
Now things get interesting, Laura pulls his bridle off and they proceed to do a lap of the area at a cantering half pass! Horse geeky me is cheering them on, the audience just sees a pretty horsie running.
Now for the at liberty portion. Acierto performs at a working trot, extended trot, working canter, somewhat sloppy pirouette, backs up, backs in a circle and follows Laura’s every cue with only visual cues. There is no bridle, no saddle, not a stitch on this horse. What gets the audience’s applause?
Yup, rearing. Nowhere near as impressive if you know what you’re seeing, but flashy. My favorite shot of him rearing is when he coming up, before he is in full flex, just because the amount of power involved in this position is much more demanding than once they are all the way up. I’m crossing my fingers that Laura will teach him a pesade or levade to demonstrate the true power, intelligence and control this horse has.
While Andalusians aren’t my favorite horses one thing I love about this fellow is his expressive face.
Oh yes, and did I mention unintented hilarious results? As they were doing the cantering half pass I just put my camera in drive mode and shot like crazy as they came down the fence line towards me. This photo is totally uncropped and had me laughing for the rest of the day. Who am I kidding, I’m still laughing!