Friday Video from SmartPak: Dancing Horses, Vintage Style


There are so few things I love more deeply and wholeheartedly than vintage horsey documentaries. The twee backing music, the extraordinarily posh voiceovers, the delightful graininess, the fact that you can practically smell the fine old leather through the screen – I’m as hooked now, at nearly 30, as I was when I was ten and disintegrated an old National Geographic VHS tape about horses in Ireland in the 1970s because I loved it too hard.

When a friend shared this video on Facebook the other day, I was in nerdy raptures – not only is it proper vintage horsiness, it’s also a rare insight into the Spanish Riding School, an establishment so venerated that it still feels like it’s worlds away from all of us mere mortals, even in this day and age of world tours and social media. I got a chance to have a snoop around the stables at the School’s Vienna base a few years ago and let me tell you, folks, I have never seen such pristine curb chains. Do I want to run away and ride Lipizzaners for the rest of my life? Totally. Am I up for spending a year on the lunge with no reins or stirrups to do so? Not a chance. I’ll be living vicariously through this short film instead – and on the plus side, I’m pretty sure I can’t melt the tape from overuse this time.