Yana Shanikova about circus, horses and yoga
Yana Shanikova represents the circus dynasty and is sure that horses are able to show such dressage elements as walking on the hind legs, siting and bowing in natural way. Yana told horsetimes, how to to "read" the animal signs to people and achieve thereby a natural understanding of dealingwith four-legged pet.
horsetimes: Yana, thank you for our meeting today. It seems so incredible that horses become so obedient next to you.
Yana Shanikova: I have been working in circus for more than 20 years already. At the age of 5 I was doing acrobatic elements and at 14 I started with dressage. Animals certainly won’t fulfill any elements if they are not able to do it in nature. For example : walking on the hind legs and landing - these are the elements of natural dressage. Like when the horses sit down, they pull the spine (it is kind of animal yoga) or when they get up on their hind legs trying to reach for apples. Experience understanding of animals typed for years. It takes years to gain experience of understanding the horse nature.
horsetimes: You often talk about the partnership between people and horses .
Yana Shanikova: Of course , you need to show that you treat your horse as a partner. Then it will trust you and feel safety, comfort and love. People should take a horse for granted with all its individual features and habits. After all, they are all individual. If the animal realizes that the person feels its personality and wants to give love, it will show love too. There is no way that a person loves and cares for the animal and it starts to get angry.
horsetimes: What signs are indicators of horses mood ?
Yana Shanikova: I often call my horses "dogs" because they behave exactly the same way. They can be jealous and offended. Beware of spending too much time with one of them. When a horse is angry , she pushes back two ears and pulls muzzle a little bit forward . In such moments it may even bite. Similarly, by the way, act dogs by showing teeth.
horsetimes: Can it kick in such moments?
Yana Shanikova : Horse may strike if it plays or is afraid. I always warn the team from flirting with the horses too much, they will jump and gallop around you, and then suddenly turn around and hit. To prevent the slash, it is necessary to calm and cool the animal. The second case is when the horse is afraid. It’s bitter if suddenly hits you in a stall. It shows that it is constantly afraid of someone or might be beaten. I had a casewith a three-year old horse , it just did not let anyone get into the box and beat everyone. When the animal saw the human, it panicked immediately.
horsetimes: How is it possible to stop panic and calm the horse down?
Yana Shanikova: The rider must convince the horse that everything is fine. Do not be afraid to be tough in such case. It is important to be completely calm. We must understand and anticipate what can happen to you in a minute. There must be no panic! If a person exudes confidence and peace of mind , the emotions will reach the animal. And if a person is worried and feels afraid, the animal reacts instantlyreacts and begins to be afraid too.
horsetimes: It’s hard to imagine the existence of a horse without a human.
Yana Shanikova: It’s true. Horses are very domestic animals. So it has been throughout history. Horses helped on the farm and were the food .They live very little in the wild. For example,they aren’t able to clean hoofs on their own. The hoof can grow on so that the animal begins to limp or even breaks the leg. Horse is an animal that has been created by nature for people.
horsetimes: At the beginning of the interview you mentioned that you did you first acrobatic performance at the age of 5. And what performance did you show?
Yana Shanikova: Of course , I got up on my father’s shoulders while he was standing on a galloping horse.
horsetimes: And now you seem to be the only person in the world who knows how to be on points on a running horses ?
Yana Shanikova: Shame to admit this factbut I had no idea of this fact. Up to 16 years , and before that time, I have beenworking in the circusfora long time already. I didn’t know the history of the genre. I invented all the tricks on my own. I have two achievements. I 'm standing on points and I hold hoops on a running horse. In a while I met the circus historian and learned that I was the only one in the world who could do it.
horsetimes: How did your genrуappear?
Yana Shanikova: The official name is the following “grotesque rider with hula hoops on a horse”. The direct translation of the phrase " grotesque rider " means " ballerina standing free on a horse ." This genre was founded by Philip Astley in England, that owned a horse theater .He is considered to be the founder of the modern circus in other words circus arts - speaking to the music. His theater was popular by the militaries. They were fond of pretty ballerinas in tutus and horses. Astley brought to the circus their harmonious combination . His ballerinas were much more famous than star nowadays. They were printed on postcards. I saw one of these illustrations in my childhood and wanted to repeat all these figures immediately.
horsetimes: It is awfully hard, isn’t it?
Yana Shanikova: I stubbornly wanted to repeat what I saw on the pictures as a child. Hard training led to tocomplicated ankle and kneesinjury. I learned to stand on points ,to jump through hoops and carry my feet. Until then ballerina either stood on a horseback spinning hoops without performing jolts elements or just performance jolts without spinning hoops.
Plans for the future
horsetimes: Not long ago the project "Circus of the Stars" was finished. You were a choreographon 15 acts. Do you plan to take part in such ambitious projects in future?
Yana Shanikova: Together with " Bitza " Equestrian Centre we are working on a theatrical Equestrian show now. Besides I develop a completely new program that will help children and adults to reach better contact with horses. I also plan to conduct master classes of “ Natural horsemenship” - proper communication with animals, dressage at liberty and without a bridle and training of exclusive tricks. Their will come up exercises on breathing on the horse - a kind of "yoga on a horse ." These exercises will focus on relaxation and improved circulation. The trainings don’t suppose special riding level.
Author: Maria Talanova