Equestrian Expert Adding Extra Horsepower To Epic Live Show
Published : 16 Jun, 2019
International eventer Anna Warnecke is currently working out how best to kidnap a fisherwoman on horseback and teach a horse to walk on water.
These are just two of the epic challenges facing the renowned German rider as she prepares for the 2019 season of the UK’s biggest and most spectacular live outdoor theatre show.
Taking place every Saturday from 29th June to 14th September*, ‘Kynren – an epic tale of England’ is a multi-award winning show featuring a 1,000-strong cast and crew, performed on a gigantic 7.5-acre stage just outside Bishop Auckland, County Durham.
Join Arthur, the son of a mining family, on his spellbinding journey through 2,000 years of English history and legend; from Boudicca and King Arthur to Queen Elizabeth I and the English Civil War on to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and both World Wars.
As Director of Cavalry and Estates Anna, who won a team medal with her own horse Twinkle Bee at the 2005 European Championships and has competed numerous times at Badminton and Burghley, is in charge of a team of riders and drivers along with 33 performance horses which star in the show.
The theme for the 2019 show is the ‘Year of the Viking’ and, as well as a brand new Viking Village for visitors to explore before the performance of Kynren begins, it also means Anna and her team must devise a series of spectacular new stunts including the horseback kidnapping.
As well as jousting, rearing up on horseback and dragging a Roman centurion along the ground, one of the most challenging stunts with the horses is something unique to the UK which Anna has trained one of the Kynren horses to do and she performs herself during each show.
Wearing a specially-constructed flame-proof costume Anna and Bobita, the Lusitano horse she rides, are set on fire as they canter across the stage.
“As far as I’m aware we are the only place anywhere in the UK currently doing this; it looks truly spectacular from the audience’s viewpoint but it’s actually incredibly safe both for myself and for Bobita.
“The key to all the equestrian stunts and effects within the show is that they look world class, but also that the horses’ and their riders’ wellbeing is paramount. Months and months of hard work and preparation go into each performance and by the time we get out on stage everyone is safe and knows exactly what to do,” she added.
The Percherons, Lusitanos, Wielkopolskis and Kladrubers, the largest of which is a Percheron called Clean who is an awe-inspiring 18 hands high, are all greys in order to make them stand out during the evening performances.
In addition to being ridden at high speed in numerous historical battle scenes, six of the horses are required to transport the show’s Queen Victoria in a stunning 17-metre-long carriage; one of nine featured in the performance.
For Anna the show’s name Kynren, which echoes the Anglo-Saxon word ‘cynren’ meaning generation, kin or family, is especially appropriate. Her partner Graham helped create the working replica of Stephenson’s Rocket and rides a motorbike during the WWII battle scene while their young daughter Lucy appears in the Georgian Harvest and Finale scenes.
“For me Kynren really is a special place. It’s a truly world-class show which is only made possible by the hundreds of cast and crew members; made up of people from the local communities all coming together to help create something extraordinary,” said Anna.
“To be a part of something unique which has that power to unite people from all walks of life, backgrounds and ages is the real magic of Kynren,” she added.