The Final Charge – At Royal Armouries Leeds 23rd August 2014 (also 24th & 25th)

TheFinalChargeThe Final Charge
Performed by Atkinson Action Horses
At Royal Armouries Leeds

Preview Stunt show – 12:00
Main feature – 15:30

Adults – £8.00
Concessions – £6.00

The title picture of this article is from the Royal Armouries site and is used for review purposes. All other photos in this article were taken either by myself or Kelly Fowler.

Atkinson Action Horses are a professional team of horse stunt performers. They provide trained horses to Jousting events and have been seen in a number of TV shows and motion pictures. For example one of the riders was a double for the lead in BBC’s Merlin TV series and several of the cast, human and equine, were recently in the tv series Jamaica in and will soon be seen in the new Poldark series.

I’ve seen the team a number of times at the Armouries and always enjoy the show. You can read other articles about them on this blog here.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAt 12:00 there was a stunt show with a number of tricks to show the skill of the riders and the trust between rider and horse.

Final Charge 3 At the end of the stunt show the audience were invited to the edge of the performance area (the tiltyard) to talk to the riders and stroke the horses.

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Above left is Candice and above right is Georgia. Male and female riders in this team perform a variety of trick rides.

On the left is Lawrence displaying the skill known as Roman Riding. His mounts are Ted and Aramis (the darker horse).

I’ve been up close with many of the horses and they are very friendly, with distinct personalities. Their care and safety is the top issue at all times. Aramis twirls his tail to show excitement, quite a distinctive sight.

Final Charge M1Mark and Ben Atkinson performed a trick they first performed at the Horse of The Year Show, I think in 2012. Pictures here are only of Mark Atkinson.

Fibal Charge M2The saddle is removed while riding.

You will see that the speed the horse is moving alters through the trick. Making the actions and commands complicated.

Final Charge M3On the first turn the horses jumped a fence at a good canter.

Final Charge M4Then at the far side of the performance area there is another jump, this time through a ring of fire

At 15:30 there was the main show, The Final Charge.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis show is set in World War I show with a narrative story. The costumes are very close replicas to the originals, provided by History Bunker.

To the right is a German soldier portrayed by Ricky.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe story is narrated via a letters from a British Officer in France to his wife at home. At first read by Charlie, central in the picture on the left, who had earlier welcomed the audience.

When he left his wife was pregnant, since then their first child has been born.

Final charge BenOur hero is portrayed by Ben Atkinson, right.

He came to war with his own horse, Benito. Accompanying him was his best friend from home.

Final Charge ActionHis friend is mentioned in the letters, including informing our hero’s wife of his loss in their attempt to take urgent orders to the front.

Through a number of perils our hero makes his way through enemy lines.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe orders are not what any of the cavalry expected. They are ordered to charge down the enemy position. An enemy that has set up machine-guns and artillery.

Final CHARGE

Final Charge Action 2Casualties are high and many fall to rise no more.

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Sadly among the fallen is our hero. All he wanted was to be home again with his loving wife, to hold his son he had never met.

His wife can only imagine the horrors he has seen and the french field in which he fell.

Final Charge 1The story seemingly told that was not the end of the entertainment Ben returned to the performance area and our hero was reunited with his horse, Benito.

Man and horse then performed several tricks showing the bond between rider and mount.

The mood was lightened by this but Mark Atkinson thought the audience needed to leave on a high. So he called on some of his riders to perform more trick riding.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA great afternoon’s entertainment. As I said earlier I have seen Atkinson Action Horses several times and I have never come away disappointed. Below are my friend Kelly’s children with Ricky and Mike from Atkinson Action Horses. The boys thoroughly enjoy the shows, their t-shirsts read ‘Atkinson action Horses #1 Fan’, their own design.

Final Charge 2

 

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