EDITION: June - August 2012

Horse shows with a difference

Text: Cat Weisweiller

There is no doubt that horses have a mystical air about them. Moreover, the therapeutic benefits of riding horses were noted as early as 600 BC by the ancient Greeks. In 1875, a French physician also proved their value in treating a variety of neurological and psychological disorders. Nowadays, it is even more widely recognised that animal-assisted therapy – of which equine therapy is a key form – is effective in treating a broad spectrum of conditions ranging from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, autism, dementia and depression to eating disorders and other emotional and mental illnesses. Not to mention their highly documented success in helping abuse sufferers to rebuild trusting relationships with the outside world.

Yasmine Issola, born in Paris, but now predominantly resident in Ibiza, is herself a passionate horsewoman. A highly skilled rider and horse owner from a young age, she has ridden amongst the pyramids of Egypt, and across the wilds of Andalucía, Morocco, Qatar and Argentina on horseback. For her, the most exhilarating experience of all was being allowed to ride alongside wild horses in the rolling countryside of Buenos Aires. It is her lifelong love of horses that later proved pivotal in easing her out of the depths of depression after the loss of someone very dear to her: “I suddenly felt a great sense of emptiness, melancholy and pain at the deepest soul level. Being around horses pulled me out of the shadows and back into balance – so much so that I could stop taking the anti-depressants that I’d been temporarily reliant on to get me through.” For this, Yasmine remains forever thankful.
Yasmine’s other great passion and full-time profession is singing. From a 14 year residency at the Ritz hotel, Paris; to performing at Le Palace, St Moritz and the churches of New York City; Yasmine has dazzled crowds around the world with her heartfelt renditions of jazz, French classics and gospel. Singing in French, Italian, Spanish and English and with many years of skilled vocal experience under her belt, Yasmine is widely praised for the spirit of sophistication she adds to any event.

No stranger to also doing live performances at prestigious international dressage shows, Yasmine is enjoying a second season with her equestrian friends here in Ibiza. In an inspired move to roll her love of both music and horses into one, she has partnered with Bruno Serra and his black stallion, Truc, to present Pura Pasión. Bruno, who has been based here for several years, is fanatical about protecting and showcasing the traditions of the original Menorcan dressage. Together, Yasmine and Bruno have created a show combining Truc’s staggering prowess and Yasmine’s stunning vocal skills. It is here where both Truc (masterfully guided by Bruno in the saddle) and Yasmine (sharing the stage with her most respected life form), delight in performing together under one spotlight.
The show, which is both open to the public and available to private events, leaves audiences utterly beguiled by the impact of seeing a mere petite mortal and hugely imposing black stallion co-existing in such harmony: “As a female singer, the vocal challenge is finding the right balance and connection with this imposing male strength – effectively merging my femininity with his masculine power to conjure up an enduring resonance.” For the existing horse fans amongst us, it is not hard to imagine the joys of anything from 15 to 45 minutes spent in this way. For those less familiar with the equine kingdom, it is an inspirational experience in its own right – not only being serenaded by Yasmine’s soothingly dulcet tones, but having an opportunity to finally grasp the irrefutable charm of these majestic creatures. •
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