Kentucky Horse Park performance of the Spirit of the Horse fills hearts with Holiday Magic!
Guests young and old were all happy to spend their time watching this years production of the spirit of the Horse in the Alltech arena over their holidayThanksgiving weekend, some driving from as far as Chicago, Virginia and Indiana to do so.
The Holiday themed story added some equine theater to the parks already diverse schedule and everyone including the Governor of Kentucky were impressed with the simple yet charming story, the beautiful costuming and the fabulous music that accompanied the performance. The story, written by Yvonne Barteau was narrated by Coral Cawthorn Zake and directed by Jessica Lawton of Grand Prix Equestrian.
Dan James of Double Dan Horsemanship played the role of villain to perfection but even he too was won over in the end. Kim Barteau as the Master of the House presented a Liberty routine featuring GP Boater, the Friesian stallion, owned by GPE, to an appreciative audience. the role of Snow Queen and the shows dressage solo performance was played by Yvonne Barteau riding her competition grand prix stallion GP Raymeister, also owned by GPE, so the show certainly had some unique and special talents involved.
Violetta Tally made a beautiful and enchanting Guardian angel with her own mare Sonata as well as leading the ballroom scene at the end of the production. Her costuming and presentation were memorable at first glance. Shalise Gallaher rode Dans horse from Road to the Horse, Swampy, as the lady in waiting and joined the ballroom scene for the finale in fine style.
Benjamin Albright and Kayla Hudi Barteau made a charming royal couple for their pas de deux. Hudi was aboard her young rider mount GP Ubillee and Ben rode Kris Coopers Veni. The pair looked fabulous together and also both participated as carolers in the street scene and rode in the ballroom scene for the finale.
Tiana Hornickle rode her own Friesian stallion Mattias in both the fairy drill and the ballroom scene. Amber Gipp rode Coral Cawthorn Zakes Tallar and Nancy Cardenas was aboard Olnia GP owned by GPE. Hudi finished up the fairy quadrille riding Erica Chen Walshs Friesian mare Dona. This act worked well and the hours of practice showed up in their precise execution of their drill.
Korin Rinaldo on her own American Warmblood Forest performed a solo as the Toy Soldier and the costuming and music for their routine was one of the crowd favorites. She also joined in the street scene as a Carole's and rode Top Gun in the finale. Ian Swayne tried to steal the show as the stunt double for Dan and as always gave an imaginative and theatrical performance both in that act and in the opening street scene.
Our youngest cast members included Missy McGinn as the Royal Helper and she ended up having many small roles in the show and then circumstances had her jump from understudy in the ballroom scene to one of the riders and she was thrilled to have an actual riding part in the show. She also handled director Jessica Lawtons dog Reba in the street scene. Rosé Grant helped with everything from driving props to technical work and even handled a role in the street scene during the opener.
Our orphans Azalea King and Elena Passamente were spot on in their portrayal of two young girls looking for a family at holiday time and they both were charming barn tour ushers before the production with help from their friend Missy. The girls were in every scene and no one could have guessed that they were not seasoned performers with their very believable performances.
Amber Gipp was instrumental in how well costuming and wardrobe worked out for both horse and rider. In addition to riding Tallar in the fairy quadrille she handled Eliot Zakes horse Absinthe as a street vendor in the opening scene and then rode him in the ballroom scene at the end.
The street scene at the beginning and the ballroom scene at the end were large production numbers and they featured many of the above characters as well as Lucinda Boyle on her own Friesian gelding Klimke, Bill Patterson of Palm Beach Equine borrowed a horse from the Kentucky Horse Park for the scene and Colleen McTighe rode Tallar. Hanna and Kateri also jumped in and rode two of Dan James horses in the finale. They were both super to work with and I think they enjoyed their time with the KYB group.
The Kentucky horse park provided ponies for the finale and their staff, especially the riders from the breed pavilion, were so gracious and helpful that we all felt like family by the end of the weekend.
Nicole Rivera, Michael Scales and John Nicholson were instrumental in setting the whole production up through producer Ginna Frantz and were helpful during every stage of the process. All in all guests and cast members alike all left the evening and the horse park with their own Spirit of the Horse enhanced by their individual experience!
A special thank you to Martha King for ALL that she did during the performance backstage in preparing the girls for the show. Also to Lucinda Boyle and Rosé Grant as well as our director Jessica Lawton.
KYB GPE Equine Theater Production Company would especially like to thank their title sponsors Barrington Saddlery and Al Marah Arabians for lending their support to the production!