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EQUUS Film Festival Movies at the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals in Omaha Bring Tears of Sadness and Joy

Updated on April 1, 2017
Kim and Eleanor Daboo
Kim and Eleanor Daboo | Source
Maggie Sheil and Shirley Klusman
Maggie Sheil and Shirley Klusman | Source
Tom Hester, General Manager Marcus Midtown Cinema in Omaha, Nebraska
Tom Hester, General Manager Marcus Midtown Cinema in Omaha, Nebraska | Source
Unbridled | Source
A Sunday Horse
A Sunday Horse | Source
Carl Hester, Isabell Werth, Laura Graves
Carl Hester, Isabell Werth, Laura Graves | Source
Laura Graves
Laura Graves | Source
Isabell Werth
Isabell Werth | Source
Laura Graves
Laura Graves | Source

As Kim and Eleanor Daboo walked out of the theater at the Marcus Midtown Cinema they couldn’t contain their tears. They came to Omaha for the Longines FEI World Cup™ Finals for dressage and show jumping, but were thrilled when they discovered the EQUUS Film Festival was part of this prestigious event.

Mother and daughter had just watched A Sunday Horse. The movie was inspired by a true story about a young woman who goes for her dream in the world of show jumping. Her goal is to make it to the Olympics, but a tragic accident forces her to rethink her goal. While she ultimately was able to continue to ride and compete, her horse goes on to fulfill her dream by winning an Olympic gold medal, but with a different rider in the stirrups.

The story is so poignant that anyone watching can’t help but be moved by those special moments that bring you right into the story to feel both the highs and the lows.

Kim and Eleanor Take the Trip West

Kim and Eleanor came all the way from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Eleanor is a young nine-year-old rider and mom supports her passion. They were also the winners of two tickets to ODYSSEO by Cavalia, which is playing now through the end of May in Chicago, IL. For more information click here.

A Sunday Horse is only one of many features and short films being shown at this year’s World Cup. The Omaha organizers brought a number of innovative experiences to their event in an effort to think outside the box. EQUUS Film Festival proved to be one of those highlights and continues to take place from 9-5 through Sunday, April 2 in the Horse Discovery Zone at CenturyLink, where all the events are taking place. It also showcased two-hour movie blocks at the Marcus Midtown Cinema through April 1.

Kim and Eleanor also watched Laura Graves film, Slow and Steady Wins the Race: The story of Laura Graves and Diddy. “The Laura Graves movie was fun to see because it was about someone who is still competing,” said young Eleanor.

“I like the slow and steady part because it reminds me of her instructor, who takes everything slowly but makes a lot of progress,” added Kim.

When asked about what they thought of having the EQUUS Film Festival movies as part of this event, they both were quick to respond. “I think it is pretty cool to see how people learn to be a professional horseback rider like Laura, who started out as someone who just got on a horse. My dream is to become an Olympic gold medalist in eventing,” said Eleanor, the tears now gone and a beaming smile on her face.

"Unbridled" and "A Sunday Horse" Touch Hearts and Souls

Maggie Sheil came all the way from Denver, CO and met up with her friend Shirley Klusman, who lives in Omaha. They watched the film Unbridled. Also inspired by a true story, this feature tells the tale of an abused girl who pairs up with an abused horse and how together they heal each other.

The movie features actors Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight; The Expendables) and T.C. Stallings (War Room; Courageous). Unbridled was created to draw attention to the practice of sexual slavery, since few people are aware of how prevalent this is in all parts of the world, especially in the suburbs of the USA.

Both Maggie and Shirley also saw A Sunday Horse and Maggie admitted, “I balled my eyes out at the end.” It brought back memories of having just put down her own horse after years of service to her.

“I enjoyed everything. It is a great concept,” remarked Maggie, while Shirley nodded in agreement adding, “horses are kind of neat. It gives these kids a hobby.”

Shirley was especially aware of how the people in the two movies she saw bonded with their horses. To see the trailer for A Sunday Horse, click here and for Unbridled, click here.

Foreign films are also part of this EQUUS Film Festival Omaha World Cup Tour Stop. One example is HÖRDUR, a German film about Aylin who is being bullied at school, while at home she has to care for her little brother. It is with the help of her friendship with Hördur, a wild horse, that brings her to a happy place in her life. Watch the vimeo link here.

Dressage Riders Shine

That same afternoon, while the movies were being shown, the FEI World Cup™ Dressage Final II Grand Prix Freestyle took place in the main arena. This much anticipated class saw 14 riders from across the world competing for the coveted title of World Cup Champion, with impressive rides by all of these champions, many who are Olympic veterans.

When the class was over and the scores tallied, it was Germany’s many-time Olympic gold medalist Isabell Werth riding Weilhegold OLD that dominated the class with their score of 90.704. An unprecedented piaffe and passage tour are what stood them apart from the rest of the field.

However, U.S. rider Laura Graves also drew huge applause from the audience for her brilliant ride on Verdades, which garnered her a score of 85.307. Third place honors went to Carl Hester and Nip Tuk with their score of 83.757.

It was a great day for those attending the World Cup to see such impressive dressage in Omaha, Nebraska. Now many will never forget what a well-run event this was.

To find out more about where the next EQUUS Film Festival tour stop will be taking place, click here. For information about the FEI World Cup Finals in Omaha, click here.

A chat with Tom Hester, General Manager of the Marcus Midtown Cinema


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