The Spirit of The Horse brings a sense of spectacle to Fontwell

A Cossack rider in the Spirit of The Horse show which comes to Fontwell Racecourse from August 16-19, 2018.
A Cossack rider in the Spirit of The Horse show which comes to Fontwell Racecourse from August 16-19, 2018.

If you’re looking for a spectacle, then Spirit of The Horse is certainly designed to fit the bill. The internationally touring blockbuster show is touring the UK for the first time in a decade, and it stops at Fontwell next week.

The show features more than 20 horses from six different countries, performing in a purpose-built 2,000-seat arena.

Choreographed to a specially-arranged musical score, blending spectacle, dramatic action, humour, poetic motion, and awe-inspiring lighting effects, Spirit of The Horse –  Renaissance weaves the magic of myth and legend through man’s bonding with his oldest and most trusted ally – the horse.

Featuring a cast of equestrian stars including the legendary Spanish Dancing Horses, with their unique style, flair and passion; the thrilling Russian Cossack riders performing high-speed colourful and dramatic stunt riding, and the return of one of the most popular characters in the show’s history –  the fabled winged horse, Pegasus.

Show promoter and narrator Binky Beaumont explains what goes in to putting on the show: ‘The logistics of putting that show together and producing it with the right acts are staggering. 

‘It’s six weeks of rehearsals and then the 10 week tour. It’s such a mammoth undertaking – there’s over 50 articulated lorries, over 400 miles of cabling, we go through 3 truckloads of of food and hay and straw daily, thousands of gallons of water a day and 40 tonnes of sand.

‘It’s a very big show, and there are also over 100 people on the actual production.

‘We have to have partner farriers and partner vets and blacksmiths for every venue –  it takes a lot of forward planning because we’re moving a full riding school halfway across the country each week.

‘We work up to four-five years ahead, so we’ve been planning to return to the UK for quite a while.’

And each venue is chosen to give the horses somewhere to exercise. ‘Their welfare is absolutely the most important thing,’ Binky adds.

Binky says the show is for all the family, not just horse enthusiasts.

‘The true stars of the show are the horses, but they’re bolstered by a cast of international riders, dancers and physical theatre artists.

‘Our artists are individual acts and groups that are brought together for the show. The Cossacks for example are actually paired with their horse at about eight years old and stay with them their whole lives. Earlier in the tour, one of the horses got a little bit lame, so the Cossack slept in the stalls with the horse – the bond between them is absolutely amazing.’

The tour also supports the charity, Ride High which helps disadvantaged children to learn to ride.