Thursday, March 25, 2010

Equine lore: Show for horse-lovers

As far as home-grown entertainment goes, there's nothing that comes even remotely close to Al Saheel - A Thousand and One Horse Tales.

The equestrian-themed extravaganza held every weekend at the Dubai Polo and Equestrian Club's tented HoofbeatZ Pavilion has been fascinating viewers for the past few seasons.

Featuring specially trained performing horses, brilliant costumes, skilled riders and a slew of jaw-dropping entertainment acts, the show unfolds in a dream-like spectacle as it transports viewers back into time when the art of storytelling was an integral part of Arab culture.

The show has now been revamped with some exciting new acts and stunts, with expert performers being roped in from Europe and the USA to add some extra sizzle.

"Al Saheel is like Cirque du Soleil on horseback. We may not be as good as them, but we can still hold out against any show in the world," said Anwar Sher who founded HoofbeatZ with his wife, Eielen Verdick, a few years back. According to Sher, there are 43 acts in all, but only 20-22 are held during each one-and-a-half-hour-long show, which is essentially a celebration of the historical bond between man and horse. "We don't follow a set format. So if you have seen the show a few months ago, there's no guarantee you will see the same acts again, as we are constantly enriching the theme," he said.

Horse-lover or not, this is one show you simply can't afford to miss.