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Queen's jubilee off and racing with horse show

Saturday, May 12, 2012
AFP


WINDSOR, United Kingdom -- Hundreds of horses and over 1,000 performers from around the world staged a glittering pageant in Britain in a stirring start to the major celebrations for Queen Elizabeth's diamond jubilee.

Troupes from India's Dancing Marwaris to the Chilean Huasos displayed their mettle Thursday in a rare gathering of global horsemanship in the royal town of Windsor, as festivities to mark the queen's 60 years on the throne began in earnest.

In tribute to the monarch's more than 250 Commonwealth and state visits, some 550 horses and 1,200 performers from 17 countries defied spring showers to perform against the backdrop of a 45-meter (148-foot) replica of Buckingham Palace.

Italy's Carousel of the Carabinieri re-enacted an 1848 battle in a whirl of feathers and swords, before riders from Russia's Kremlin Riding School formed a human pyramid on galloping mounts in a daredevil show of horseback acrobatics.

Between the horseback performances were bursts of song and dance, among them a didgeridoo performance, a Maori haka, Inuit throat-singers and a mariachi band.

The robed Royal Cavalry of Oman thundered in on 100 Arabian steeds in clouds of frankincense, watched by a packed audience including the queen's daughter Princess Anne, a former competitive rider.

“The empire may have faded into history but the guiding light of monarchy still continues,” said the presenter, television personality Alan Titchmarsh.

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