Felix Santana and Gallahan will be performing a series of movements with roots in Classical Horsemanship also known as Haute Ecole (HOWT AY-COLE) or Alta Escuela training. The movements practiced in this discipline were once used in ancient battlefields to give soldiers and their equine counterparts an advantage while at war.
Lateral movements were used to evade threatening encounters and are still used while engaging with bullfighting, as well as in training to increase the gymnastic ability of the horse. In some maneuvers used, such as the Spanish walk and Airs Above the Ground, the horses’ own body is utilized as a weapon against whatever the pair may encounter. Others were used to simply impress, as well as strengthen and refine the equine partner. Examples of movements like these are exhibited in the Passage— which is essentially a very collected trot, and the Piaffe— which is so collected that the horse marches in place. These movements require extreme engagement, collection, and strength from the horse.
Gallahan is a Lusitano and Iberian warmblood cross, two breeds created out of the need for courage and bravery they display while under duress. In the modern world, we seldom encounter a battle on horseback except in the case of bullfighting, where horses like Gallahan take on counterparts often larger and more aggressive than themselves but remain fearlessly responsive and engaged while working with their human riders.