VIDEO: Meet Jerry, Río, and Gratia – three of the most graceful dancers on four legs

By Stephen Raskauskas |

Jerry, Río, and Gratia are three of the most beautiful dancers you’ll ever see. But unlike most dancers, they perform on four legs, not two.

These three talented performers are Lipizzaner stallions trained in the art of classical dressage. The United States Dressage Federation explains, “Dressage is a French term meaning ‘training’ and its purpose is to develop the horse’s natural athletic ability and willingness to work making him calm, supple and attentive to his rider.”

Lipizzaner stallions, which trace their lineage to the 16th century, were originally bred for warfare. The art of dressage however, dates back even further. One of the first documents discussing how to achieve harmony between horse and rider is Xenophon’s On Horsemanship, written around 350 B.C.E.

The Lipizanner horses at Tempel Farms carry on the centuries-old tradition of dressage in northern Illinois. Watch Jerry, Río, and Gratia perform a pas de trois – a dance for a group of three – below, and discover how their riders harness their individual skills and personalities to create their routine.

Explore more about the art of dressage, Lipizzaner stallions, and their training below.