Behind The Scenes At Cavalia, final installment.... by Elizabeth
of myself as more of a representative of an old art, an old
way of working," says Enrique (Ricky) Suarez, the draft
horse trainer for CAVALIA and a fifth generation circus
performer whose family has been renowned for their talents
with horses for decades. PBack in the 1920s and 1930s there
were a lot of bareback acts and a lot of guys somersaulting
on horses," adds Suarez, who was born in California and
now calls Florida home when not touring. Suarez, 24, is
today among a handful of bareback riders around the world
who can execute an airborne full twist from one horse to
another. He was nine when he first performed the somersault
remarks, "I have all the tricks in me, but I have to be
able to train them onto the horses. That¹s what really
takes time and trust." Having started from scratch last
summer training draft horses for the bareback acts in
CAVALIA, Suarez first began working with Buddy. A massive
Belgian gelding, Buddy has already distinguished himself as
the horse Suarez whirls above during the show in a
somersault. The dark-haired performer remarks,
"Somersault is a trick that I have to be able to train
onto a horse and for that horse to willingly accept."
Mutual trust is paramount. "They have to really
maintain their steady beat for me to be able to do what I
do. Even though he¹s not doing a bow or a lay-down, the
horse is doing that trick for me. Buddy¹s my somersault
horse, which is a title that a lot of horses don't earn.
He¹s very dependable."
regimen before each show gets Suarez and Buddy ready to
perform. "I do acrobatics on the ground before I even
get on the horse. I need to be hot like an engine. I need to
be pepped up. I need to move," describes Suarez.
"After I warm up and the body is stretched out
completely, I start to jog in place or jump up and down.
Then I'll start doing back flips or back somersaults. Just
to get the mind ready to literally turn over, upside down.
Then, I warm up with my horse which is my calm time. With
Buddy, it's trotting. I pet him and really relax him before
the show. He needs to see me in a cool, calm way."
Flashing a thousand-watt smile, Suarez and Buddy head from
CAVALIA¹s indoor warm-up arena toward the stage entrance to
perform before 1,800-plus spectators.
CAVALIA's Horse Industry Liason. For general information
on CAVALIA, please contact: Françoise Cabana in Montreal,
Canada at 514-879-9002 Ext: 33, email@example.com