The Horse Circus: 6.20.14

The Horse Circus

We pretend to go to the horse show but everyone really knows it’s a circus!

Bring on the clowns! And the horses too!

Every Friday Counter-Canter Culture features the important US and International Horse Shows currently under way.

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Royal Ascot

The oh-so-classy Royal Ascot race meeting is on once again in England. Beginning on June 17 and continuing to June 21, the best horses, food and fashion are taking Ascot Racecourse by storm, just as they have for over three hundred years.

Royal Ascot, being cast this year as ‘Great British Drama,’ dates back to 1711 when Queen Anne founded it while out for ride. And since its founding the drama and the pageantry of British royalty has put its stamp on this event. Each day Queen Elizabeth II and various other members of the royal family arrive by horse-drawn carriage in the Royal Procession.

Then it’s off to the Royal Enclosure for the Queen and her entourage.  In fact, there are three enclosures are available for viewing the races. The Royal Enclosure is the most prestigious, and therefore the most difficult to obtain entry. A step down is the sophisticated yet relaxed Grandstand enclosure, and finally there is the party in the Silver Ring. In the Silver Ring you may not get to hob nob with the Queen, but when the races finish you can dance the night away with the live house band on the scene to entertain.

One of the most exciting aspects of Royal Ascot this year, for those like me who cannot attend, is their extensive YouTube marketing campaign, which allows an inside view of almost everything. For example, want a sneak peak into the Royal Enclosure? Here you go!

And perhaps now you’re wondering, “What would I have to wear should I be lucky enough to get inside the Royal Enclosure or perhaps just the Grandstand?” Fear not! There is a video for that as well. I must say this video is a stunning success. It takes one of the most restrictive dress codes in the modern world and manages to make it look cool.

Of course, it just wouldn’t be British if they didn’t mix in a bit of art with their sport. This year both a poem and a work of art were commissioned for this Greatest Race Meeting in the World. First, hear the “Royal Ascot Poem,” written by the racing poet Henry Birtles and read by actress Joanna Lumley.

Now learn the story behind David Mach’s specially commissioned collage, entitled “The Great British Drama,” which is made up of over 200 images from Royal Ascot over the years.

Finally, just in case you have any interest in the actual races, yesterday featured the prestigious Gold Cup. Queen Elizabeth’s horse, Estimate, came in second behind winner Leading Light. I guess you can’t win them all. But then getting to come and go from the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot in a horse-drawn carriage already sounds like a successful day to me!

Head over to the Royal Ascot website, the Ascot Racecourse Facebook page, and the Ascot Racecourse YouTube channel to immerse yourself further in in this one-of-a-kind racing tradition.

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