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EQUUS Film Festival Continues with its Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals Omaha Journey

Updated on March 31, 2017

Riders and Horses and Films Shine

McLain Ward and HH Azur
McLain Ward and HH Azur | Source
Henrik von Eckermann aboard Mary Lou
Henrik von Eckermann aboard Mary Lou | Source
Laura Graves and Isabell Werth
Laura Graves and Isabell Werth | Source
McLain Ward riding HH Azur
McLain Ward riding HH Azur | Source
Henrik von Eckermann aboard Mary Lou
Henrik von Eckermann aboard Mary Lou | Source
Horse Discovery Zone
Horse Discovery Zone | Source
Horse Discovery Zone
Horse Discovery Zone | Source

As the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha goes into its second day of competition, the EQUUS Film Festival tour stop movies and shorts continue to delight young and old alike. Things are looking good for the United States when on the first day of competition Laura Graves placed second in dressage with a score of 79.8 behind many-time Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth aboard 774 Weihegold OLD, who finished on 82.30.

Graves spent Thursday afternoon in an EQUUS Film Festival meet and greet and interacted with both local children and adults of all ages who were excited to have the chance to meet this Olympic bronze medalist in person. That same afternoon Laura went in with her horse Verdades and showed why she is the Team USA top dressage rider who is coming closer to one day being the best in the world.

That same night show jumpers from around the world faced off against Olympic veteran Peter Leone’s testing show jumping course. When all 37 riders had gone, it was Olympic gold medalist and U.S. rider McLain Ward who led the way after negotiating the course with no faults in the fastest time of 59.27 seconds. He just barely squeaked ahead of Sweden’s Henrick von Eckermann and Mary Lou in a time of 59.58 seconds.

Friday showcased more show jumping in the evening and again Ward claimed the victory after a jump-off. Earlier that day the EQUUS Film Festival continued to debut in two locations at its first World Cup. School kids are being shuttled in by bus all day to the Horse Discovery Zone. It’s inspiring watching the smiles and delight on these kids’ faces as they take advantage of a host of exhibitions, hands-on activities and the EQUUS Film Festival shorts being shown in the theater.

EQUUS Film Festival Short Movies

Among those included in the 18 shorts are Alice Through The Looking Glass, a fanciful, fully costumed equine interpretation by young dressage rider Kayla Barteau. American Cowgirl is the story of the women who shaped the history and legends of the American West and who continue those traditions today. In Birdie & Bruce, a strong bond is formed when a young girl befriends a troubled pony.

The Black Turf Project focuses on African Americans in Thoroughbred Racing and is done as a multi-media educational experience that brings to life one of the least known yet most important sports stories in American history.

Not only are these movies giving those who have created them a place for added exposure but it is educating those viewing them about things they may have never known about. The main reason the EQUUS Film Festival was created was to give those producing horse films a place to be showcased.

These films are being shown from 9:00 a.m. daily through 5:00 p.m. at the CenturyLink, which is also where the trade fair and competitions are located.

Marcus Midtown Cinema

Feature films are also being shown at the Marcus Midtown Cinema. One of today’s features was The Edge, whose focus is on the training of Bruce Anderson. As a boy, Anderson spent most of his time in “Mother Nature’s classroom” learning key tools to balance the mindset.

The impact that horses have had on his life is fundamental to his work. The producer of this film is Julianne Neal. As a special treat both Neal and Anderson were available for a meet and greet with the audience following the showing of this film.

On Thursday, Horse Shelter Diaries director Donna Wells was available after the showing of her film to talk to those attending. The purpose of this film was to make the public aware that there are healthy viable horses for adoption out at The Horse Shelter in Santa Fe, NM. The story focuses on nine horses that had never been saddled or ridden that trainers took for 100 days to show what could be done with these horses.

After the 100 days, these horses were then auctioned off to qualified bidders and continued their life in their new homes. By taking the time to show the horse's boundaries and skills these trainers were able to demonstrate what wonderful athletes these horses had become. It’s an amazing story of focus and determination that will warm your heart.

Film Blocks

These are just two examples of the many films being shown at the cinema from 1:00 to 5:00 daily in blocks. Those not familiar with film festivals may not be aware of how this works. But films generally are shown in blocks combining a few films. In Omaha, each block of films runs for two hours and includes one longer feature and two shorter ones all totaling up to two hours of filmmaking.

If you are in town for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to see some amazing horse films that you probably would have never had the chance to see if it were not for the EQUUS Film Festival’s goal of giving equine focused filmmakers a chance to have their work showcased.

This is the third story in this series. So, take the time to follow us through Sunday when both this EQUUS Film Festival Tour Stop and the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha finishes and the final winners are announced.

To see the first article in this series, click here and for the second article, go here.

The Edge with Julianne Neal and Bruce Anderson


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    • dianaderosa profile image

      Diana De Rosa 11 months ago from Farmingdale

      Donna your kind words are very much appreciated.

    • profile image

      Donna Wells 11 months ago

      Thanks, Diana and Lisa, for all your hard work and for what you do for horses with the EQUUS Film Festival. It makes a huge difference! Bless you!

    • dianaderosa profile image

      Diana De Rosa 11 months ago from Farmingdale

      Amazing horse and movie talent taking place Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha where the EQUUS Film Festival is showcasing some intriguing and heartwarming films.