Equine Rescue

Feel Good Sunday: Dancing with Horses

Source: BBC Magazine

“Anyone who can empower an Equine to influence and speak to our own inner-selves is a saint,  in my book; and today’s installment is a true work of art, like no other.  Enjoy!” ~ R.T.

Bartabas could only afford to buy his ponies for a few francs from the meat markets, saving the animals from certain death…

The Theatre Equestre Zingaro has an unusual stable of performers – the leading stars of its dramatic shows are horses. They combine dancing and acting in a remarkable way, writes Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore.

cartoon_bartabasFlip through the early programs of Theatre Equestre Zingaro and you will find a sketch by the late cartoonist Cabu. It shows a butcher’s shop in disarray with the door knocked down. Bartabas, Zingaro’s flamboyant founder, is running away, a rescued horse on his back.

The cartoon harks back to the pioneering French equestrian theatre’s earliest days. Bartabas, then in his early 20s, could only afford to buy his ponies for a few francs from the meat markets, saving the animals from certain death.

Last year marked Zingaro’s 30th anniversary and Bartabas has come a long way. He now owns 37 trained horses, from elegant Arabian stallions to piebald shires and bonny Shetland ponies. His shows tour the world over, often featuring dozens of performers. And, since launching in 2003, his Academy of Equestrian Arts has occupied the grand stone arches of the royal stables at Versailles.

Celebration, however, is tinged with tragedy – 2015 was also the year when Cabu, Bartabas’s close friend, was killed in the Charlie Hebdo massacre alongside his colleagues from the satirical magazine. In reaction Bartabas premiered his show On Acheve Bien les Anges – Elegies (They Shoot Angels – Elegies) at Les Nuits de Fourviere festival in Lyon last June.

Elegies delves into a darker side of humanity, touching on grief, death, loss, and religion. Horses plunge, gallop, and rear, evoking otherworldly spirits, or spin around in a mass of fluffy cloud-like foam, conjuring up images of an uncanny, uneasy heaven. Some acts feature skeleton riders, others fallen angels atop snow-white horses, their wings drooping with despair.

“It’s not just a terrorist attack,” Bartabas, 58, insists. “It is an attack on artists. They were artists and that’s why they were killed.”

He adds: “In the past I used to do very provocative shows. But now, as [the world] is quite aggressive, my new way of doing things is the contrary: to be softer, tender, and to define the poetry of things.”

Equestrian theatre, or hippodrama, has graced Europe’s stage since the late 18th Century. Plays were written for large numbers of horses and mass audiences, with early riders often cavalry veterans, and themes touching on war, chivalry, hunting, and highwaymen. Scripts were minimal; after watching one rehearsal of Hamlet, the British hippodrama star Andrew Ducrow famously said: “Cut the dialogue and come to the ‘osses'”.

By the mid-19th Century the trend had travelled the Western world, with hippodramas being staged in as far-flung cities as Sydney, before falling out of fashion.

In recent years it has come surging back. Canadian hippodrama company Cavalia often plays to crowds of thousands, and in 2009 Franz Abraham directed a £6m re-enactment of Ben Hur at the 02 Arena in London, featuring 400 actors, 45 horses, and an epic chariot race.

But other companies care less for extravaganza than for high art. They include the Icelandic equestrian centre Fakasel, which opened in 2014 and celebrates the beast locals dub “the most useful servant”. In France Baro d’Evel, an equestrian circus, features just two horses and a black-and-white African pied crow.

It is Bartabas, however, who nearly single-handedly revived the genre, giving it panache, soul and a dose of celebrity – the renowned American composer, Philip Glass, is one collaborator…(CONTINUED)

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  1. The Brigitte Bardot Foundation

    History of a fight
    Brigitte Bardot led the career that we know without ever fades passion for animals. She discovers that she can not limit his love to his own animals, so the misery of all their peers is important. She decided to take the challenge and dedicated his life to this difficult question what animal protection.
    Today FOUNDATION BRIGITTE BARDOT , recognized public utility, has over 70,000 donors in more than 60 countries and over 600 investigators and volunteers delegates. Its headquarters are located in PARIS and employs with its 2 shelters and seasonal, nearly 90 people.
    The Foundation acts directly on the GROUND through aid to shelters, RESCUE animals, sterilization campaigns of stray animals and assistance to homeless people.
    It also comes against legal cases of cruelty or ABUSE helped by its delegates investigators, everywhere in France.
    In metropolitan France and overseas, the BARDOT BRIGITTE FOUNDATION is also present on all continents in support of locales.Parallèlement initiatives it multiplies INFORMATION CAMPAIGNS and strengthens communication networks to inform and yet still the plight of animals.
    The Brigitte Bardot Foundation is one of several coalitions to strengthen its action. These include major international animal welfare groups to conduct joint work for UNITY IS STRENGTH!
    She is a member of Eurogroup For Animals in Brussels which campaigns for a strengthening of EU legislation on animal welfare.
    Member of the network SSN (Species Survival Network), the Brigitte Bardot Foundation is involved in CITES, the international convention on wildlife trade endangered. The issues discussed at these meetings include among other the ivory trade, the disappearance of the polar bear and the decline of many species caused by international traffic and the destruction of their habitat.
    It is also involved in the Commission International Whaling.
    in France, it participates in the struggle against bullfighting and is leading the fight against ritual slaughter.
    Abuse: 117 horses collected since 2005
    Animal abuse can take many forms: physical or mental abuse, neglect, deprivation of water and food …
    In 10 years, the Foundation has occupied more than 15 equines seized records all over France. Every time they are between 3 and 20 horses in our care.
    Since 2005, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation has recovered 117 horses judicial foreclosures, more than a third of horses that she supported.
    Withdrawals: numbers up
    It is not less than 10 calls we receive each week from individuals who can not or do not want to take care of their horses.
    Already 68 horses abandoned and raised by the Foundation since January 2011. The reasons? Animal aged and / or sick, separation / divorce, health problems, moving … The most astonishing remains “I bought it to prevent the slaughter, but I can not keep.”
    Hippophagie: a long fight
    Although horse meat consumption fell by 0.3% in recent years, the number of animals slaughtered him still growing.
    Every year in France, it is not less than 20,600 horses that are victims of the knife. 72% of these horses are horses said “light” (or saddle) and 21% horse “heavy” which more than half is under the age of 2 years (see our website: jenemangepasdecheval.com ) .
    our position
    Horse and pet
    The Brigitte Bardot Foundation considers the horse as a pet.
    This noble animal has always assist man. There are hundreds of years, he helped us among other to conquer or defend territories, maintain and cultivate the fields … Today it is still used for farm work and débardages but also in medicine, where he plays the role of therapist (horse therapy) and brought happiness to many children with whom he forges a special bond.
    Support service to individuals and associations
    To reduce cases of abandonment and abuse, the Brigitte Bardot Foundation offers grants to individuals or organizations that can no longer cope with the expenses of their horses. Budget represents nearly € 120,000 per year.
    There are 10 years the Foundation dealt with about 15 cases of requests for assistance per year. Today there are more than 70 files
    This increase is partly explained by the financial crisis and hay shortages in recent years, but also by a lack of clear thinking and responsibility, indeed a horse lives on average 30 years (or 40 years), and requires regular care and feeding adjusted according to age.
    The Foundation aims to help address some vet bills, food or farrier on record, but offers no help to the facilities or the acquisition of land (real estate not part of its jurisdiction).
    Sign the petition HERE (http://www.fondationbrigittebardot.fr/agir/petitions/hippophagie)

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