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Horses of Medieval Times Orlando: Dressage adds fun and beauty to old-time tale

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When most people think of Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, they immediately think of knights jousting and battling each other in front of a cheering crowd. The fight scenes are indeed impressive, but as a horse owner for more than 30 years, I have to admit that the horses are my favorite part.

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Along with the human stars, a cast of Andalusian horses keeps the audience in awe. They perform dressage maneuvers on an Olympic level. I suspect that many of the spectators enjoying their roast chicken while they wave banners and cheer for their section's knight have no idea how much patience and how many years of training goes into the horses' maneuvers.

The knights ride the horses throughout much of the show as they parade and do battle, but the best parts are the ground routine and the dressage performance. You'll sections of the show where the horses perform riderless, including some "airs above the ground" maneuvers of the kind you'd see at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. There's also a dressage routine with a solo rider that held me spellbound with maneuvers like the Spanish Walk and flying lead changes performed every stride. Those names might not mean anything if you don't know about dressage, but they're a real visual treat for anyone.

If you like birds of prey, you'll also enjoy seeing the falcon who performs in the show. He soars gracefully overhead, going for a lure offered by the falcon master.

You'll see the horses and falcon in the slideshow accompanying this article, but the photos don't do them justice. If you're a horse lover, if you have a horse-crazy child in your family, or even if you just enjoy a fun show that just happens to include equine antics, Medieval Times is a great dinner show choice. Jump to this article to see the knights in battle, or go here to see the feast you'll enjoy while you watch.

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