Ryan Chartrand

Nobody can call the famous Lipizzaner stallions shy. The horses have performed for more than 25 million people all over the world and their next stop is San Luis Obispo.

The Lipizzaner stallions will appear at the Madonna Expo on July 18.

Troy Tinker, master of ceremonies, said that the best part of the show is that anyone can enjoy it, even if they don’t have a background involving horses.

Tinker has been the master of ceremonies for the show for the last 15 years. His dream was to be an actor but he found his passion in announcing for the show.

“For me (the best part of the job) is watching the faces of the people in the audience,” he said.

Tinker tours with the show 11 months out of the year. There are a total of 14 horses and 25 people that spend most of the year on the road.

The tour recently returned from a seven-week stint in the United Kingdom, he said. So far the horses have appeared in all 50 states, all the Canadian provinces, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Mexico City, and are continuing to add new destinations to the schedule, Tinker said.

A show typically consists of 11 segments with each horse appearing two or three times and generally lasts about two hours. In each segment, the horses perform basic to elaborate dressage movements.

Tinker said that the show’s ability to run smoothly is credited to the horses’ training.

The stallions do not start training in dressage until they are around the age of 4, Tinker said. They enter the show around 8 or 9 and retire around age 20.

However, the starting-retiring age may depend on the horse itself. Tinker remembered one stallion who became depressed after retirement and they ended up putting him back in the show because it made the horse happy.

“They are true individuals,” Tinker said.

The horses are pampered and treated like stars. They travel in a large, climate-controlled truck that comfortably holds 17 horses, he said. The truck is equipped with cameras so that the driver can keep an eye on the horses, Tinker said.

Each horse performs to its ability and is not pushed outside its parameters, he added. Some people confuse the show with a circus but it isn’t one.

“In a circus they teach animals how to do tricks, but we don’t teach the horses to do tricks,” he said. “Everything they do is natural.”

Each horse’s capabilities are determined at a young age and that is what the trainers work with, Tinker said.

The Lipizzaner stallions have been featured in a Disney movie depicting their rescue during World War II and have since continued to grace the pages of history books.

Tickets for the show can be purchased at any Vallitix location and more information for the show can be found at www.vallitix.com. For more information on the Lipizzaner stallions visit www.lipizzaner.com.

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