Calgary – From a world-renowned design team, to a cast featuring Tom Jackson, it’s no surprise that highly sought after Hollywood equine trainer – Bill Lawrence – is working with the three stars of the ENMAX Corral Show – TAILS: Three Horses. One Legend.
Lawrence brings seasoned credentials to TAILS. He has most recently trained the horses in War Horse, a production produced by Steven Spielberg, as well as the films The Legend of Zoro, Racing Stripes and The Young Black Stallion.
Lawrence specializes in liberty training – a means of training where the horses are free and the work is based on trust and using body language – without bridles, treats or strings. Lawrence will be able to guide the horses through their performances in the corral, without any reins, ropes or strings attached to the horse.
“A strong connection between the trainer and the horse is key in liberty training,” says Lawrence, trainer, TAILS. “The trainer must feel the horses energy at all times and judge the horse’s body posture rather than trying to control the horse. It’s challenging work and never ending. Because the horses are creatures of habit, I have to pick up on their cues to try and stay two steps ahead.”
Lawrence works with the horses several days a week and multiple times a day. By the time TAILS opens on Thursday, July 5, he will have been working with them for over three months. The same goes for the other trainers and performers in the show, Rae Lynn Armstrong, Sally Bishop and Madison Macdonald who will perform multiple roles with different horses in the show such as trick riding. Trick riding is the art of performing stunts while riding a horse, such as hanging upside down off of the side of the horse while attached to the saddle.
“We work with the horses every day to ensure they are in prime condition and feeling good,” says Armstrong, performer and trainer, TAILS.“From learning new skills, being exposed to the special effects and large crowds, maintaining endurance, and keeping healthy, the horses are well prepared to give their best performance every single show.”
High caliber athletes in every sense, the horses are receiving professional athletic training and care that any high priced professional athlete would be jealous of. With specialized feed, shoes, blankets, nutritional supplements, massages, daily training, and chiropractic care, these horses are receiving higher than standard care.
Although Travesio, Liberte and I’pah’ka Pi are the main characters of the show, there are over 35 horses in this production. Each horse has a special role in the show that highlights their unique skills and capabilities. As in any other theatrical production, there are understudies. This means that the trainers not only have to train one horse for a specific scene or role, but the understudy as well. A large amount of time, effort and planning is going into ensuring all the horses are masters of their performances and the ENMAX Corral Show entertains all who come to share in the experience.
TAILS will run three times daily at noon, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and is free with Park admission.
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