Monkeys on Horseback

New Swedish feature film She Monkeys is set in the world of vaulting:

Emma (Mathilda Paradeiser) is a girl who likes to be in control. When she tries out for the local voltige (equestrian vaulting) team she meets Cassandra (Linda Molin), a strong, attractive and vivacious girl. As they get to know each other they share a sense of wicked fun and quickly become best friends. But feelings of jealousy, competiveness and sexual attraction have them pushing each other to their limits. As Emma spends more time away from home with Cassandra, little sister Sara (Isabella Lindquist) begins to discover her own sexual identity, all the while pining for affection from a reluctant babysitter.

Swedish director Lisa Aschan was also responsible for Forbrydelsen/The Killing, a smash hit for BBC 4 and once produced a series of made-up ads for a brand of weaponized tampons, called Fuck the Rapist. In this interview with Medium Rare TV she says she chose vaulting because “I just like horses, and I grew up in the countryside in between two farms, so I’ve been surrounded with this.”

It’ll be released in the UK in May 2012 and has already won awards at the Tribeca and Berlin Film Festivals. Thanks to Karen Krizanovich for the tip off.

Cirque du Pony!

Thanks to the Daily Telegraph, here’s Jive Pony, “the UK’s premier female equestrian display team” who vault, dance with their horses and do all kinds of tricks and stunts.

Always certain to make a big impression with equine stars Ronan, Navey, Tinker and Casper, the three svelte girls who precariously balance on their ponies’ backs don’t tend to wear many clothes. This always ensures a good crowd.

“It is a feel-good sort of show, which is meant to make audiences smile,” says Jive Pony’s founder, Rebecca Townsend.

The performances are overwhelmingly jolly. In an era when some politicians would seek a ban on the more exotic animals in circuses, Jive Pony is keeping traditional equine-performing skills very much alive.

“Just watch Ronan catching a silk handkerchief – he’s brilliant at it and you just know that he enjoys it,” says Townsend. This is very funny to watch, as is Tinker who, on command, will nod to say “yes” and bow gracefully.

Sticking to their much-rehearsed and seamless script, the super-agile trio executes tricks on and off their ponies that are trained to perform the Spanish walk – high-stepping in time to music – and to canter perfect circles at a steady, even pace. Such stunts, sometimes with two ponies in unison controlled by one rider, demand a mix of athleticism and trick-riding skills, which is why Townsend was so cut-out for the work.

As a teenager, she was a seven-times British national champion at equestrian vaulting.

Hanging Ten on a Horse

“I was taking photos of some of my customers one day and said, ‘I’m bored. Why don’t you stand up or something?’ ” Mattox said, explaining the segue from beach riding to horse-surfing. “The next thing I know, there are people coming from Europe to try this new hot American tourist activity.

“It was always a goof, but we have had competitions and want to have a totally non-serious World Championships some day. All in good fun. I personally didn’t try it until six months later.”

From the Miami Herald.