Gala of the Royal Horses is a must see

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Kay MerriamKay Merriam

The Gala of the Royal Horses has a beautiful history, and the fact we all have an opportunity to see them in action on Sunday provides us with many gifts, including World War II history, preservation of beautiful Lipizzan stallions with their magnificent leaps, steps and balance, and the perfection of riders for whom leg pressure, subtle rein movements and weight shifting provides viewers with an uncanny experience.

Often, Pocatello residents do not venture far from our beautiful valley, so when an opportunity such as this is upon us, it might be considered a “ho hum” event. After all, lots of people train and ride horses to enjoy following trails into our mountains or to use them to help with the task of rounding up cattle.

The truth, however, is that seeing this product of more than a hundred years of breeding interrupted by war, lack of understanding and financial problems gives us an unequalled opportunity to view horses performing in ways encouraged by their height of 14 to 15 hands, strong bones, cheerful attitudes, strong joints and hooves. Their progress goes back for centuries and are gathered at the Spanish Riding School in Austria. There, they perform and practice in a palatial structure in Vienna.

Seeing these animals was, for me, part of a trip to Europe in 1955-56. We stayed in Vienna for more than two weeks, and although there are many historic sights there, I spent my time at their palace every day to observe the training activities they went though.

Those who ride the Royal Horses are trained using an amazingly difficult regimen where every movement is precise, exact and planned. The horses are willing creatures, but need steady training, which includes closeness and caring as opposed to strict discipline.

Here in the United States we do have opportunities to work with horses using Dressage methods. This takes consistent time, attention and caring to master, not only for the rider but for the horse. The result can be beautiful as seen in horses changing leads and performing steps in different rhythms. To see a horse show comprising the many elegant Dressage gaits is beautiful. As an aside, to see a horse that has been worked using that method, you will see an animal showing beautiful stance, even as it stands alone.

This article gives you very little time to decide if you want to attend because the show will be at 5 p.m. Sunday at the Bannock County Event Center, but you can buy tickets the day of the show starting one hour before the event starts. Further, if you purchase VIP tickets, you will meet the riders along with the horses. If you are wondering why I would recommend something so close in time, all I can say is that those Royal Horses are the most beautiful, most capable and most well-trained horses you will ever see. Besides, they give you a glimpse of offerings from far away. The opportunity to stay right here in Pocatello as your observe them is a unique opportunity.

Tickets are $50 for adult VIP, $40 for adults, $30 for seniors, $20 for children’s VIP and $15 for children. For more information, call 352-208-2244 or visit www.galaoftheroyalhorses.com.

Kay Merriam of Pocatello has a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. She was the president of the state League of Women Voters for two years and president of the Pocatello chapter for two years as well. She was the president of the Bannock County Planning and Zoning Committee for 11 years and on the Pocatello-Chubbuck District 25 School Board for six years.

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