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20 Mar, 2010 18:22

All the president’s horses

For the first time, Russia's renowned presidential cavalry escort of honor is performing outside the Kremlin. The show is taking place at an exhibition hall in one of Moscow parks.

Among the stunts on display are standing on a riding horse, leaping from horse to horse, mounting and dismounting a horse in full gallop, riding a horse upside down and hanging down on its side.

The highlight of the performance is going to be the so-called “pyramid,” a stunt displaying riders standing on the back of horses and leaping onto each other’s shoulders.

All the riders are wearing exact replicas of the costumes of Cossacks from the 18th century.

The presidential cavalry includes two squadrons of Cossacks. Among other requirements, a successful applicant to these squadrons must be tall, strong, have a distinctly Slavic appearance and be a fully registered Cossack.

Twice a year 25 young men come to Moscow from the Kuban region in the south of Russia to join the special cavalry.

The cavalry regiment was first formed in 1962 especially to take part in films. The first picture in which the regiment appeared was the film adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel “War and Peace.”

Since then the cavalry has appeared in many films and was financially supported by Moscow’s film industry up through the 1990s. Because of financial difficulties the size of the regiment was significantly decreased, but it didn’t disappear completely. In 2002 it was turned into a special cavalry escort within the presidential regiment.