Lipizzaners Bring Magic
Photos & Text by Robyn Kirk
The South African (SA) Lipizzaners Centre wanted to give Johannesburg’s vulnerable children something that they could carry with them for life – memories of a special performance held just for them.
On 16 July, a special show entitled A Winter Wonderland was performed by the white stallions. About 100 orphaned or abandoned children from all over the city were invited to watch the show. "For this show, FirstRand Limited, as part of their corporate social initiative, sponsored tickets for the underprivileged children and some adults to come see the performance," explained Adriaan van Wyk, the managing director and a trainer at the centre. "Members of the public were also able to sponsor tickets. The children watched the performance, and then were invited to our coffee shop for food, snacks and drinks for them to enjoy." Van Wyk explained that they wanted to give the children something they would remember, rather than just food or money that would not last forever.
The Winter Wonderland performance told the story of a little girl who is transported to a magical world when she starts reading a story book. She experiences a number of classical Disney characters throughout her journey as the Lipizzaners and their riders dress up like the characters from The Lion King, 101 Dalmations, Mary Poppins, Pocahontas, Peter Pan and other classic Disney films. At the end of the performance, riders and their horses came out dressed like some of Disney’s most famous princesses, as the children in the audience gasped and cheered.
One of the children’s homes invited to see the performance was the Yenzani Children’s Home from Midrand, which brought 14 children to watch the Winter Wonderland. "The children and I really enjoyed it," said Connie Mosetla, Yenzani house mother since 2004. "The Lipizzaner Centre and its sponsors are doing a very good job, and I would ask them to keep up the good work." FirstRand also provides the funds that allow seven less fortunate children to take up equestrian skills.