Performing Royal Horses find rest in Elizabethton before show

Published 9:24 am Friday, November 14, 2014

Photo by Brandon Hicks For more photos visit

For the first time ever, the Gala of the Royal Horses will perform in Johnson City, and until those show horses take the stage, they are making themselves at home in Elizabethton.
The Gala of the Royal Horses will appear at Freedom Hall Civic Center at 7:30 p.m. Friday. The horse troupe, along with their owners Rene and Barbara Gasser, arrived in the area Monday evening and have been staying at the Dream Moore Ranch on Bob Little Road as they prepare for the show.
The Gala of the Royal Horses creates a one-of-a-kind show, combining beautiful horses with live human performers for an almost two-hour show.
“We have Lipizzaner, Friesian, Andalusian and Arabian horses in order to give a proper tribute to the royal horses of Europe,” equestrian master Rene Gasser said. “As well as Spanish flamenco dancers who will dance with the horses to live music. It is like the horse is doing a tap dance. Not only do you see, but you can also hear the footsteps. That gets into people’s hearts right away.”
The Gala of the Royal Horses features 14 horses, each performing its own specialty. Gasser said he starts training horses at age 3 1/2 and by age 10 they’re professionals in what they need to do in the show. Not all horses are born for the stage though.
“A lot of horses love performing, but there are ones that do not,” he said. “It takes a special horse to love performing in front of thousands of people under the lights.”
Along with the horses in the show are their human dancing companions. When looking for the horses’ stage counterparts, Gasser tries to find dancers who are comfortable working with the large animals.
“They have to learn to work with the horse and be comfortable doing that,” he said. “It is definitely different dancing with something that weighs 1,400 pounds.”
Leading up to the show, Gasser has been putting the 14 horses through special rehearsals so they will be ready to perform.
“These horses are like dancers, or a sports athlete,” he said. “Their muscles have to be in top condition.”
Each of the 14 horses is a “different character,” according to Gasser. All of the horses in the Gala live for the moment they are the star of the show.
“They definitely know when it is time to go on,” he said. “Some horses just glow before they go in the show ring.”
The performance will showcase the athleticism of the Royal Horses that have made them the favored choice of royalty, equestrian riders and other performers for years.
“The unique qualities of the Royal Horses single them out from all other breeds in the Equine world,” he said. “Their physical beauty and grace, coupled with exceptional courage and nobility, make them an object of admiration and a source of inspiration for horse lovers everywhere.”
The show is not just for horse lovers. Gasser said the performance is a good choice for the whole family.
“This show is for all ages,” Gasser said. “It is for horse lovers especially but when those who are on the fence about horses come to see it, they always are surprised with how entertained they were and how much they loved the production.”
Tickets start at $25 and are available at the Freedom Hall Box Office, online at or by phone call 423-461-4884.

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