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South Jordan Journal

On US tour, Gala of the Royal Horses does a triple-bar jump to South Jordan

Aug 17, 2018 03:31PM ● By Jana Klopsch

Rider/trainer rewards horse with a treat. (Amy Green/City Journals)

By Amy Green  |  a.green@mycityjournals.com

What is it about horses that are so regal and majestic? Many might agree that some of the classic cinema productions like “The Man From Snowy River” or “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” are movie masterpieces, in part from the stunning contributions of horses. 

Speaking of the good: the Gala of the Royal Horses brought a European horse tour to the Salt Lake County Equestrian Park and Event Center in South Jordan (2100 W. 11400 S.). Showtimes were the weekend of July 21–22, and then the tour moved on to Grand Junction, Colorado continuing across the United States. Those who fence-jumped for the opportunity to see the prowess and excellence of this event saw that horses in person can upshow a cinema production. 

Gala of the Royal Horses, presented by riding master Rene Gasser, features the beauty and strength of Lipizzaner stallions, the Spanish andalusian, Friesian and Arabian breeds and also the quarter horse. You can find out where the show trots to next and view details at galaoftheroyalhorses.com. 

Sarah Garcia, experienced horse owner from Sandy, went to an afternoon showing. Garcia has a talent and fondness for dressage, horse boarding and animal caretaking. “As a child, I had seen the Lipizzaners perform here in the U.S. and loved it,” she said. “Later, I went to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria in their off season. I couldn’t see them perform, but was able to see the magnificent horses at the stud farm. It was an experience I will never forget.” 

This show was meant for all ages. The arena had lower VIP seats and upper bleachers with family spectators, kids and grown-up cowboys and cowgirls — some in “boss of the plains” dress. A diverse culture of horse fans came to appreciate and enjoy it all. 

The audience clapped and cheered during the intricate gaits and gallops. The horses did well to hear the sounds of support and praise. 

To see European horses of different sizes and colors is an interesting and educational experience. There is a lot to learn at a show like this. 

The gala demonstrated how each horse breed has certain strengths. Each type of horse is built for different walks and tricks. How to demonstrate a battle-style pounce, for instance, is something still taught to certain horses. Postures like down-tilted heads are not necessarily innate for horses, but are mannerisms that can be learned by a willing and strong horse, after a lot of work and patience. 

The show exhibited creature aptitude, and also the relationship of trust that horses and human trainers have together. This event coming to South Jordan was a lucky leg forward to the Salt Lake Valley. Ticket buyers who attended got to see a unique not-available-anytime show. 

“It was wonderful to see such majestic creatures right here in our own backyard, performing many of the same things that Spanish Riding School Lipizzaner stallions perform. I liked how the different breeds of horses were described as they were shown, and I loved how they explained some of how the horses were trained,” Garcia said.  

There was a surprising and especially entertaining comedy act in the show — a horseback version of a dance-off. “It was a ‘ride-off’ between the Western horse and the Spanish horse. It made for a few laughs, and the final demonstration of a horse doing a capriole (big kicking-out leap) was superb!” Garcia said. 

All the beauty and poise could easily trigger one’s mind to thinking about horse-accented movies. Those who train horses know that guiding, supporting and befriending an animal doesn’t happen as sometimes portrayed in Hollywood — like when a wild mustang spends a summer in the ring with a humble rancher, and their efforts over a single season transform the horse into an instant, powerful-yet-tame servant and companion. The horse quickly becomes readily capable for every life-saving battle on the feisty frontier, galloping endless hours without injury. 

This art and sport doesn’t quite work that way. These animals need frequent care, rest, time and committed interest from specialists to bring out the horses’ most positive traits and abilities. For a horse to have healthy longevity and virtuosity, there is much invested. The skill and mastery displayed by Gala of the Royal Horses at South Jordan’s own specialty equestrian arena takes years of dedicated human effort — which converts, in horse years, to a lifetime.