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4 Sep, 2010 03:56

Kremlin horse school – at a gallop to glory

This weekend the center of Moscow will host a spectacular show of Russia's renowned presidential cavalry honor escort.

The Kremlin cavalry regiment will attend in the main performance ahead of Moscow Day.

Being the captain of one of the most prestigious riding teams in the country, Pavel Polyakov knows what it takes to impress the crowd: a whole lot of hard work. Each day is a new series of workouts and training… and riding has long stopped being just a sport.

“This is not just a hobby or a job for me,” Polyakov said. “This is everything. This is my lifestyle.”

Doing stunts with flags, pikes and swords, in pyramids and over fire – the stable is like a second home for most of these people.

The team's training sessions are held six times a week. Some of the maneuvers are quite complicated and complete understanding is essential not only between the team members themselves but between each rider and each horse as well.

The schedule is made in such a way that each athlete gets to train and compete both in Russia and abroad. But like the head coach says, it's not really the medals these guys are after.

“These people are all adrenaline junkies,” head coach Klementy Plokhotnyuk told RT. “It's all about challenging yourself, getting over the fear. Imagine what it feels like jumping over fire while standing on a horse!”

The team is managed and trained by the Kremlin horseriding school. Founded four years ago, it was meant to help revive a centuries-old riding tradition, which was nearly forgotten in the 1990s.

“Due to the lack of financing, horseriding as a sport became really unpopular,” said the school’s head, Boris Petrov. “Now, it's getting back on its feet and Russia's growing presence at international competitions is a clear sign of that."

Talking about competitions, some of the team's members are also on the Russian national show jumping team. The school's aim is to train athletes for the Olympics as well. With such a display of skills, it is possible.

No wonder the stage for the team's latest show is the Red Square itself.