English Heritage has announced that it will bring its season of equestrian performances in the historic Riding House at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire to a close with a series of brand new, bespoke displays throughout September.
Bolsover Castle’s Riding House is widely considered to be England’s historic home of dressage. Built by William Cavendish, 1st Duke of Newcastle, one of Europe’s great horsemen and a forefather of modern dressage, it is the only purpose-built Riding House still in use in England.
Every weekend throughout the summer English Heritage hosts a series of events when leading experts in historic and classical equitation showcase Cavendish’s ground-breaking methods. This September, all three equestrian performers – Historic Equitation, El Caballo de España and Atkinson Action Horses – will deliver a brand-new performance in their afternoon shows.
Over the weekend of 9-10 September, Historic Equitation will be delivering their own mini spectacular during the 3.30pm performances of their Art of the Ménage show. The afternoon displays will feature five horses and will see them perform a carousel, where riders will run a course with lance and sword around richly decorated pillars. Airs above the ground will also be displayed in a thrilling show of 17th century riding, all set to music from the time period.
Meanwhile the Atkinson Action Horses will be showcasing a new display, Liberte des Chevaux – The Final Step, when they perform on 16-17 September. Using three Andalusian horses, the group will present displays of liberty work to demonstrate the very peak of equine athleticism, talent and schooling put forward by William Cavendish in his manual ‘A General System of Horsemanship’. In a nod to the Duke’s second wife, the Atkinsons will also be displaying the elegance and beauty of classical equitation under side saddle.
Finally El Caballo de España (The Horse of Spain) will be incorporating three new pieces to their displays on the weekend of 23-24 September. ‘The Flag’ and ‘the Lance’, both of which are pieces of artistic interpretation of their use in battle. They will also be showcasing some Skill at Arms. For their ‘From Manège to Dressage’ performances in 2017, the group has also brought in two historical Spanish Horses with blood lines from the 16th century, introduced new choreography to demonstrate historical dressage moves and added a Q&A session at the end.
Bolsover Castle Riding House Events:
Saturdays and Sundays in September
Soak in the surroundings of the historic riding house at Bolsover Castle as you witness expert horsemen in flamboyant 17th Century costume training for both art and battle. There will be three daily shows performed by one of our expert equestrian teams.
Cavendish’s Horses: The Art of the Manège – Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 September
Dominic Sewell and his Historic Equitation team will reveal more about the famous training techniques of Cavendish and their majestic horses will demonstrate traditional moves and skills of the time. Dominic is a specialist in the art of riding and training horses and riders in the historic tradition and also competes internationally in jousting.
Cavendish’s Horses: Power and Grace – Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September
With their elegant Spanish Horses, the Atkinson Action Horses will amaze you with a demonstration of skilled horsemanship displaying the complicated movements of Cavendish’s time. Atkinson Action Horses are one of the leading trainers of horses for Film and TV, having featured on Poldark, Peaky Blinders and many more. Benjamin Atkinson is also a trainer to the Royal Equestrian Club of Dubai.
Cavendish’s Horses: From Manège to Dressage – Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 September
Be amazed as Peter Maddison-Greeenwell and the team of El Caballo de España demonstrate the dressage movements from history with commentary explaining how these classical methods are still as relevant today. An international trainer, Peter believes correct classical training promotes welfare and longevity in the horses and helps riders understand the ‘why’ of dressage.
For more information, visit: www.english-heritage.org.uk/bolsover
English Heritage members: Adults £2.00, Children £1.00, Concessions £2.00
Non-members (costs also include entry to the castle): Adults £13.80, Children £8.50, Concessions £12.70