Here's a twist on the dancing horse, where a Peruvian man, woman and horse all dance together. The horse is the famous Peruvian Paso breed, known for its smooth rapid gait (Paso means "step" in Spanish).
Dancing horses perform at weddings in Pakistan and India. The dance style here is quite complex, combining steps similar to the European dressage and haute école movements of the levade,piaffe and perhaps a bit of cantering in place. In part of the dance the horse is encouraged to swing its head from side to side with flicks of long reins. These horses seem quite familiar with the difficult performance, and get a moment's rest and a kindly pat from their trainer in between rounds. In the last scene a boy can be seen lobbing the end of a rope at a horse's rump every few moments, to keep him active.
I recall a tale of an ancient battle in which some Indian (I think) horses were captured (perhaps by Mongols or Persians?). That evening as the victors celebrated by playing music, they were astonished to see the horses begin dancing. Thinking they must be possessed by demons, they slaughtered them on the spot. I don't recall where I read about that. When I do, I'll post it.
I will go on about this fascination people worldwide seem to have with making horses appear to dance. One of my early horsey memories is of an illustration in a book of a gray Egyptian Arabian performing just like the one in this video. His costume was more elaborate, his neck more arched, and the rider in elaborate costume, but it was neat to finally see the picture in motion, when I found this video.
I've heard from friends who ride that horses ridden to music do develop a sense of the beat, and they are equally excited or calmed by music as people are. This Arabian horse is performing what is called a piaffe in the western European riding traditions. It's basically trotting in place. It takes time for the horse to learn well, and compactly built horses, such as the Lusitano and Andalusian, find it easier to perform than long, lanky horses.
This movement is the basis of many "dancing" routines worldwide, as you will see in future posts.
One thing that seems to be universal when it comes to humans and horses is the desire to make the horse dance. Or to interpret its movement as a kind of dance. In this Spanish example the rider guides the horse through intricate patterns. To teach the horse this kind of accuracy of movement takes years, and a Zen mind on the part of the rider. The long stick (garrocha) is traditionally used to move cattle on the range. This art form - Doma Vaquera - is performed competitively throughout Spain.