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Household Cavalry increases Abu Dhabi shows

Britain's famous Household Cavalry will now perform six times in the forthcoming Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition.

ABU DHABI // Britain's famous Household Cavalry has increased the number of performances it will hold in the forthcoming Abu Dhabi International Hunting and Equestrian Exhibition (ADIHEX). A total of 28 horses and 36 soldiers will perform the Musical Ride six times at the event. One extra public performance was added to allow younger children to attend, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) said yesterday "The increase came in response to the overwhelming public demand in the UAE for these distinctive and rare shows," said Abdullah Qubaisi, a spokesman for ADACH. The four-day exhibition, which begins September 30, will be the Middle Eastern debut for the Household Cavalry.

"There's horses moving to music and it's very evocative, moving and dramatic," said Capt Edward Olver, the officer commanding The Musical Ride. "One of the most signature pieces is the lying down of the horses, and that basically goes back to times when ... scouts would have been on horses and spied on enemy columns and they would have to hide with their horses in the grass." One of the "most spectacular" but riskiest maneouvers, according to Capt Mark Avison, the regiment's Riding Master, is the scissors formation: "They'll come from two corners and cross over the centre line. If they don't get the timing correct, they can hit each other." The riders are in stable dress dating from the 1820s and carry lances, he said. "Everything we do and everything we wear - it's all about history."

The final 15 Irish Draught horses for the show arrived in the capital on Tuesday morning. ADACH, which is helping to organise ADIHEX, said the demonstration by the Household Cavalry in the UAE reflected the cultural ties between Britain and the UAE. According to the revised schedule, a special VIP performance will premier on the opening night, followed by two Thursday shows (11.30am and 8pm), two Friday shows (3.30pm and 8pm) and a Saturday demonstration at 8pm. mkwong@thenational.ae

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