“For me, the horse, the animal, is my life,” says the Spanish horseman Santi Serra, who will be performing at the Longines Masters in Hong Kong next month (10-12 February 2017).
“They say I have a gift but I’m not best placed to talk about it because I don’t feel it. I don’t know whether it’s true or not.
“All that I can say is that I work with my horses every day,” he adds.
Dogs riding horses, horses jumping other horses and lying down on request are all par for the course for Santi Serra’s shows, which aim to capture the movement of horses in the wild and demonstrate their obedience without using force.
“My parents bred Arabian horses. I don’t really know what my first memory involving horses is because I was born with them. I mean there have always been horses in my family. I have always been told that I could ride before I could walk!
“Horses are very big animals but they are also quite meek,” he says. “They need a leader because they are herd animals.
“When I’m working, I want them to understand that they are with me. I am their leader. When they are with me, they know that they’re in good hands, that they are safe and there is no reason to be afraid. What we try to emphasis in our shows is the welfare of the animal.
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“How do I feel when I’m performing in the arena? I feel free. For me this word is one of the most important words in the world. In truth I’m avoiding everything by staying in the company of my animal family.
“I want all of the people who have come to watch our show in the arena to sink into a dream where animals and humans share the same world.”