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No horsing around - it's VIP treatment for Cavalia stars

The horses flew in on a spacious chartered jet, have their own roomy stables and get pampered everyday with showers, grooming and massages.

SINGAPORE: The horses for equestrian theatrical spectacular Cavalia were showcased today (Aug 4) at the Cavalia fairgrounds at Marina Bay, almost a week after touching down in Singapore last Wednesday (July 30), and Channel NewsAsia got the chance to meet the four-legged stars of the show, up close. 

The most popular cast member is Troubadour, even though he only has about 30 seconds of showtime. Troubadour and the rest of the horses are settling into their new surroundings, ahead of opening night on Aug 12.

All 50 horses arrived here in style, flying 11,000 kilometres from Brussels in Belgium to Singapore on a spacious chartered jet. The horses also have their own roomy stables and get pampered everyday with showers, grooming and massages. The stables and training area are kept cool, with temperatures maintained at around 20 degrees Celsius.

Mr Marc Olivier Le Prohon, the Director of Artistic Equestrian Operations with Cavalia explains the controlled environment: "If it's too hot, when we try to work with the horses, the horses are going to overheat and be sweaty when we try to work with them. This is especially since they just came from Brussels, which was pretty cool when we were there. It would be dangerous for them (if it's too hot)."

To take care of the horses, Cavalia employs a 20-strong stables team which includes veterinarians, grooms and a farrier, who specialises in taking care of a horse's hooves. The cast consists of 36 performers who ride, perform stunts and dance with their four-legged counterparts. Each performer usually has a specific equine partner, to build rapport.

Ms Katie Cox, Bareback rider says the key is in establishing a relationship with the horses.

"It's really about finding what they enjoy doing and making sure that they get to have fun during the day. So if you find something that they like to do, you let them do it. It's kind of like with a child, where you have to find a fun way to get them to go in the right direction."

It's not all horsing around for performers though, as injuries, although rare and mostly minor, do occur. That has not put off performers such as Ms Fairland Ferguson, who recovered from a major accident before joining Cavalia.

Ms Ferguson, a stunt rider, said: "We have a lot of safety precautions, TV monitors backstage and people on radios. Everyone is working very diligently for the safety of those in the show, so accidents are very minimal at work. Accidents do occur sometimes during training, like when I'm trying a new stunt, but it's all part of the show.

Just like a travelling circus, Cavalia picks up many of its performers as it tours cities around the world. So if you love horses, you might want to trot down to the show. 

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