APASSIONATA: The Beginning, the equine theatrical extravaganza that hails from Europe, ended its U.S. debut in Louisville, Kentucky with a standing ovation from its final Sunday afternoon audience.
I went with 47 of my equestrian friends as part of the group ticket promotion Apassionata offered to Louisville area equestrian facilities and organizations, and of course to cover the event for Louisville.com  as their Equestrian Beat Writer.
The production had beautiful backdrops and lighting to offset the gorgeous and highly trained horses and riders who made up Apassionata. Beauty and grace were on display, as well as daring stunt riding, all had the crowd mesmerized.
However, I have to say my favorite horse and rider team was the big draft horse who, along with his rider, performed high level dressage movements, including aires above the ground, as if he was a lighter warmblood. He walked down the arena on his hind legs as if he was a 1000 pound horse rather than the 2000 pound draft horse he appeared to be. He definitely won our group over.
I was very proud of the performance of local Prospect, Kentucky farm owner, Gudmar Petrusson, and his group of Icelandic horses and riders. The lights were dimmed as he and his troupe entered the arena with pyrotechnic sparklers attached to the horses’ leg boots, highlighting their smooth movement and gait. They were a lesson in precision as they rode through their performance.
The dressage, both at liberty and under saddle, displayed by various groups in the performance were the epitome of grace and excellent horsemanship, lovely to behold. When the Andalusian horse stepped up on the grand piano and began to perform piaffes with the Spanish dancer, who also was on the piano, it was a sight to see.
In the end our group of adults and children were very impressed with the show and of course being a part of an equestrian group, loved all the different breeds of horses on display. The kids loved the donkey and of course the little miniature horses who performed as if they were big warmbloods.
If you happened to miss Apassionata do not worry they had such a great response from their shows here in Louisville that they are planning additional shows on May 11-13 here.
For more information on Apassionata or to purchase tickets go to their website here .
Photo: Courtesy of Carly Dolan