The Spirit of the Horse

CAROLINE CULOT Norfolk Showground, Costessey, Norwich

CAROLINE CULOT

Spectators to this unique big top production were left with a feeling not just of the spirit of the horse, but also of its majesty and beauty.

The UK tour of a show with 30 magnificent horses ranging from Arab stallions to Falabellas and Shetlands showed man and his friend working in harmony.

The theme of the show, which includes a cast from Russia, Spain, France, Argentina and England, was man's relationship with the horse at work and play.

Set in a big top, this was far from a circus - in this production you certainly won't see ridiculous bedecked horses being made to prance about.

Instead, it gives you a spectacular display while being careful to preserve the dignity of the horses.

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And this is, perhaps, how a show with animals as its main stars can do so well in a society in which the traditional circus is no longer popular.

One of the most stunning items was a breathtaking display by seven Arab stallions galloping freely around the ring.

They raced round looking frisky, not always doing exactly what they were told, but essentially natural.

The show opened with an equally spellbinding gallop of a unicorn followed by Pegasus complete with wings.

But the show saved the best till last with a heart-thumping display by a team of Cossacks.

It was hard to know which was more beautiful - the horses or the men - but the display was full of difficult stunts all done while galloping round the ring.

The show had appeal for younger spectators with Silver the naughty horse and a lovely routine with a Shire horse and a Shetland.

Oh, there was a clown and audience participation, too.

I would say the show was more suited to older children - my six-year-old loved it but I think very young ones may be scared in certain moments.

Also, I think only an older audience could appreciate just how difficult the routines were.

It was a unique night out - but expensive.

In addition to your ticket price, expect lots more if your child wants a pony ride round the ring at half-time (£1), a photograph on horseback (£5) or a visit to the stables afterwards, (£1 per person).

t Two shows a day will be performed up to and including Sunday, October 26. Tickets can be booked by calling 01260 288681 or at the on-site ticket office, which is open from 9.30am until 8.30pm daily.

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