REAL ESCUELA DEL ARTE ECUESTRE
Jerez de la Frontera
I donít really have any pictures of this. It is not permitted to take photographs inside the building, so I didnít. Other people did, with flashes no less, and right in the horsesí faces. They got away with it, too. Made me mad. Here I am with no pictures except these, which I offer in spite of probable copyright violations.
I had read about the show online at www.realescuela.org in advance of the trip and had front-row tickets waiting, paid for, at the gate. I paid $21 euros a piece for them, and they were worth every centime. The horses were sooooo beautiful.
The show lasted about 90 minutes, and consisted of half a dozen acts. The opener was a long dressage by a beautiful, beautiful white horse with a cropped tail. It was very low key, as dressage is, but he moved continuously for at least 15 minutes, skipping, high-stepping, changing leads, and pivoting in place. Made me positively weepy.
There were acts with carriages and acts with horses on lunge lines (who reared up and jumped into the air and kicked and danced in place). There was another solo act by a horse fit for a king. But I think the one I liked best (hard call) was an act with ten horses who wove their way through an intricately choreographed routine that just went on and on, like a drill team, but much more spectacular.
One young horse (my sources tell me all white horses start out as dark dapple-grays) was kicking up his heels whenever all the horses cantered. The canter in this kind of riding is so contained, like the movement of a rockinghorse. This colt could hardly stand it. It looked a little scary, like he might kick another horseís legs. He was almost bucking. I studied the ridersí faces. An older rider had the frisky horse, and he looked very calm. A couple of other riders looked amused.
The high point (you might have had to see this to appreciate it) was when they all fell into line along the other side of the ring, moving with that sideways, crossing-over gait you always see in dressage, all in step, so close their sides were almost touching and their legs would have tangled if any one of them had misstepped. They looked just like the Rockettes. Then they broke out into all different circling patterns and fell back into a chorus line on our side. Ole!
These guys below, who were posted outside the front gate of the Escuela, are probably not star pupils, but they are pretty horses.