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Horsewomen of the 19TH Century Circus

Horsewomen of the 19TH Century Circus

In the 19th century, a circus equestrienne garnered more respect than an actress, a prima ballerina or an opera prima donna. Author Hilda Nelson takes us on a journey with the greatest circus equestriennes that reigned over the most prestigious rings of Europe, when the Circus was quite a serious endeavor. 

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Item #: X1-34234
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The Great Horsewomen of the 19th Century in the Circus, by Hilda Nelson. Circus was quite a serious thing in nineteenth and early twentieth century Europe. A circus equestrienne garnered more respect than an actress, a prima ballerina or an opera prima donna. Equestrians were the kings of the circus, and equestriennes, its idolized queens.

Horsemanship was important then and was more than mere entertainment. Wars had been won by good horsemen, and horses were still man’s most valuable partner in many aspects of everyday life. The circus had been created by and for equestrians.

Author Hilda Nelson takes us on a wonderful, often surprising journey with the greatest circus equestriennes who reigned with much flair over the most prestigious rings of Europe. She redirects the spotlight on these unjustly forgotten stars of the circus of yore. Many illustrations are of familiar haute ecole movements in classical dressage—piaffe, Spanish walk, passage—as well as airs above of the ground as performed by the Spanish Riding School in Vienna and the Cadre Noir in Saumur, including the courbette, capriole, levade and pesade.

These circuses were housed in grand, theatrical palaces, not movable tents, but rather in exquisite buildings that were a fitting setting for these memorable equine artists. The book is further enhanced with an epilogue containing an account of the equestrian accomplishments of four contemporary écuyeres: Catherine Durand Henriquet, Eloise Schwarz King, Géraldine Katharina Knie, and Katja Schumann Binder. Includes an extensive glossary. Paperback: 185 pages. Publisher: Xenophon Press.