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9 March 2014 / leggypeggy

Proud horses bring magic to Enlighten’s last night


Who would have thought that three blow-up horses would bring me to my knees—literally?

Poor John and I (and new dog, India) headed out to the last night of Enlighten—Canberra’s annual light show—especially to see the puppetry horse show.

Designed and created in France, the Fiers-a-Cheval (Proud Horse) is a herd of up to nine gigantic inflatable puppets. Three of these 12-foot-tall horses came to Canberra, for their first-ever performance in Australia.

Fiers-a-Cheval (Proud Horse)

Getting pats from the crowd

Accompanied by a symphonic musical score as well as smoke and colourful lights, the horses ‘galloped’ and ‘cavorted’ through the night, captivating all ages. Two even approached the crowd to receive pats and praise.

Instead of using strings, the puppeteers—who I think were two men and a woman (hard to be sure under the turbans)—form the hind legs and tail of each horse. It’s obvious they have to combine strength and grace to bring the animals to life.

Fiers-a-Cheval and puppeteer

Each puppet was lit from within, and the colours changed from white, to blue, to red, to blue again, to apricot and finally to white.

The performance—there were two on Friday and two more on Saturday—concluded with each puppet being deflated and gathered into a bundle against the puppeteer’s chest.

As for me being on my knees? I got a prime spot at the edge of the performance ring but, just before the horses arrived, a woman elbowed her way ahead to me to join her husband who had saved her a place. He could have said something. Not to worry. I tapped the shoulder of another woman in front of me and to my right and asked if I could sit or kneel in front of her. She kindly obliged and I had a great unobstructed view.

And Poor John and India? They had to keep backing farther and farther up the hill because, as Poor John said, the horses scared the bejeezus out of the dog. But one of my daughters understands. She thought the horses were magnificent and creepy at the same time.

Fiers-a-Cheval in red


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne T Ferguson / Mar 9 2014 7:52 pm

    G’day Absolutely spectacular and we saw something similar at the Military Tattoo from Scotland this year where they did a human version of The Warrior Horse!
    Cheers! Joanne


  2. weggieboy / Mar 9 2014 9:12 pm

    Wow! Even the photos give a sense of how dramatic and entertaining the performance must have been!


    • leggypeggy / Mar 9 2014 9:30 pm

      Thanks, but the photos barely come close to giving a sense of the wonder.


  3. weggieboy / Mar 9 2014 9:15 pm

    I found this on YouTube!


    • leggypeggy / Mar 9 2014 9:35 pm

      What a fantastic link.Thanks for finding and sharing it. I wonder what your cats would make of them?


  4. lmo58 / Mar 9 2014 9:37 pm

    Wow Peggy! That’s truly wonderful. It was such a beautiful performance and I can only imagine the joy the show brought everyone especially combined with the music. Thank you for the fantastic photos and I’m sorry India got a bit, or a lot, freaked out by all the noise and colour. Similarly, I’m sorry that you were shoved. People are so rude sometimes! I saw the National Theatre’s production of War Horse at the Dendy yesterday and the puppetry in that was also magnificent.


    • leggypeggy / Mar 9 2014 9:45 pm

      I’ve heard the War Horse production is amazing. Will have to check if it’s still on. And I didn’t get shoved, more elbowed out of the way. I just wish the fellow has said his wife was joining him. I’d have moved on then. But thanks to the other woman, I ended up with a great viewing spot.


  5. highland hind / Mar 9 2014 11:15 pm

    Stunning pics


  6. Jo Jury / Mar 10 2014 10:13 am

    What a fascinating show that must have been! Had never heard of it before. Thanks for sharing


    • leggypeggy / Mar 10 2014 11:55 am

      I hadn’t heard of it either. Here’s a video of a performance in another place.


  7. Sy S. / Mar 10 2014 1:21 pm

    What a wonderful and colorful display of Puppetry! Once again you come up with some skillful photography, all the great photos.


    • leggypeggy / Mar 10 2014 3:57 pm

      Thanks Sy. I was so lucky to get a ringside seat.


  8. gpcox / Mar 10 2014 10:23 pm

    Words escape me – I’ve only got – WOW!


    • leggypeggy / Mar 10 2014 10:37 pm

      Hope you have a chance to check the video link I gave a couple comments above.


  9. / Mar 11 2014 8:48 am

    Wow Peggy! Really wonferful photos. It looks like a fun and exciting show. I just love these simple but clever uses of props to entertain. It’s an idea that the Cirque de Soleil has perfected, and it’s nice to see the artform more widely used. ~ James


    • leggypeggy / Mar 11 2014 3:51 pm

      Thanks, it was a lot of fun to watch. Except for the dog. 🙂


  10. wineandhistory / Mar 11 2014 2:38 pm

    What a fantastic show! The photos are simply beautiful.


  11. Benjamin - Quidams / Mar 11 2014 7:28 pm

    Dear LeggyPeggy,
    I am Benjamin, working at Compagnie des Quidams, the french company which created this show.
    Thank you for your article and congratulations for your wonderful photos, bravo !
    We are so happy you enjoyed the show.
    We are wondering if it would be possible for you to send us the beautiful photos you took.
    You can contact me by email if you want.


    • leggypeggy / Mar 11 2014 10:07 pm

      Hi Benjamin
      Thanks so much for enjoying my comments and photos. I’d be very happy to share the photos with you. 🙂


      • Benjamin - Quidams / Mar 11 2014 10:25 pm

        Thank you very much Peggy !


      • leggypeggy / Mar 11 2014 10:45 pm

        Thanks Benjamin. It’s late here tonight so will send pics tomorrow. Let me know when the pics arrive. There are many more than I posted here and I am happy to send them all (maybe four at a time), but will keep each email under 10mb.


      • Benjamin - Quidams / Mar 11 2014 11:45 pm

        Thank you Peggy !
        There is no problem, you can do it when you have time.
        You can send the pics by email or via a website like wetransfer, it’s up to you. 🙂
        Thank you in advance.


  12. christineparkerartblog / Apr 16 2014 11:26 pm

    Those are gorgeous photos. Thanks for a glimpse into your world!


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