By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—If you love horses, you’ll want to head to the 1st Mariner Arena this weekend. A show that has thrilled audiences in Europe for 10 years is now in Baltimore.

Ron Matz goes behind the scenes of Apassionata.

Apassionata is an equestrian extravaganza. The 40-horse spectacle gallops into the 1st Mariner Arena this weekend.

“We have four trucks that the horses travel in, and we have seven equipment trucks. It’s a giant undertaking to transport all these horses,” said Nadja Tschersig, production coordinator

The Nights of Iceland are a precision team, part of the spectacle of Apassionata. The travel is a grind, and all the horses are given great care.

“We have a lot to think about for the care of the horses and making sure they’re comfortable. We’re able to go to our base home in Ohio between shows. The horses relax and get to go out in the pasture. We take them for trail rides. They really get to lead a normal life in between,” said Laura Benson, Icelandic team leader.

The horses are stabled outside the arena. This Broadway style show brings beauty and excitement to Baltimore.

“They are show horses, so they are used to it,” Tschersig said. “They love their show life on the weekends. During the week they are normal horses. They get turned out. They’re in a stable and then in the field. We keep them so happy so they are in very good condition.”

This massive production includes a cast and crew of 100, but of course the horses are the stars.

“We perform a routine with sparklers on the horses’ feet. Pyrotechnic horses is pretty fun. It’s exhilarating. It takes a while to get the horses used to it, but they’re pretty calm and they seem to enjoy it once they get comfortable,” Tschersig said.

The show’s stars come from all over the world.

“We added five horses here in the United States, the Icelandic horses. All the others come from Portugal, the Netherlands, France and all over Europe,” Tschersig said. “Most of the 35 horses came from Europe. We brought them over in three different planes. They traveled very safe. They are very easy. They did very well on the plane.”

Apassionata has been seen by 5 million people in the past 10 years in Europe.

“It’s a success. It’s grown all over Europe. We have trick riders doing incredible stunts on their horses. They jump over fire. We have something for the little kids, including comedy parts with a donkey and Shetland ponies. We also have a classical part. We have something for everybody. It’s a Broadway style show with horses,” Tschersig said.

“The audience is going to see a wide variety of everything. It’s an equine production with lights and music. We have professional dancers and five different teams of riders that portray all different aspects of equine movement and exercises,” Benson said.

There are four performances at the 1st Mariner Arena this weekend. For ticket information, click here.


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