There are plenty of cultural festivals happening in Milwaukee this weekend, and The Gala of the Royal Horses is no exception.
This unique event – celebrating showmanship, Spanish and Austrian cultural heritage and, above all, horses – is part of a global tour three years in the making, produced by Rene Gasser and his team, El Caballo Blanco.
The performance has a two-day run starting Friday, July 10 at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, featuring horses from prestigious royal bloodlines including Andalusians, Arabians, Friesian and Lipizzaners. Each act will showcase the grace, trust and athleticism of Renee’s horses and their trainers.
Part of this dramatic performance will feature "The Airs Above The Ground," a series of maneuvers Lipizzaners were trained for during times of war. This includes the dynamic Capriolle or vertical leap, a move the breed is known for.
Another feature includes a Friesian horse who will be dancing alongside Flamenco dancers in authentic costumes that will bring the majesty of this culture home. This striking choreography and vivid color palette is sure to inspire audiences. That and the beautiful horses.
Among the trainers scheduled to perform is Gigi Gasser, Rene’s daughter, who has been working with horses all her life. Gigi and Rene come from a long line of horse masters starting with Rene’s great grandmother who was an accomplished trainer and performer while Rene’s great grandfather was a military horseman.
For Rene, training with horses was as simple as a bird taking to flight.
"I fell in love with it very early," he said. "We used to go to the big retired horses in the paddocks, put the ladder up to them, climb onto their necks and slide down while they were eating. That was our life."
The celebrated bloodlines of these Spanish horses have been shown in portraits of European royalty and are exemplified in the nobility of the breed. Among the most noble of these breeds is the Andalusian. Lipizzaners were bred from Andalusians in Vienna, Austria.
"Even today in Spain and Vienna, they still bring in a fresh stallion from Spain to mix into the bloodline so it stays pure," Rene explained.
Another performer audiences should look for is Mozart, a 14-year-old Lipizzaner. Mozart has been with the Gassers his whole life, and though he embodies all the willfulness a horse might, he is a stunning performer with a playful soul.
Rene and Gigi train with the horses on such a level that their performance seems like playtime. Gigi strides and gambols with Mozart in ways some kids might play with a kitten and a string. For the Gassers, performance and professionalism come naturally.
The Gala of the Royal Horses will be a captivating performance for all those that are able to come and a show not to miss for horse enthusiasts. Ticket information can be found here.