In the first show of its type ever to be mounted in the UK, more than 30 live horses, as well as their riders and handlers, will come together on south London's Clapham Common tonight for The Spirit of the Horse. Billed as "a spectacular of equestrian theatre...a unique bonding between horse and human", the show will have a limited run from 20 September to 13 October 2002.

A specially designed, 2,000-seat auditorium has been erected at Clapham Common for the event, which will feature numerous breeds such as the Arabian, Lippizaner, Fresian, Lusitano, Shire, Shetland, Andalusian and the miniature Falabella.

The show's central theme - the symbiosis of man's relationship with the horse at work, play and war - is explored through poetry, dance and expert riding. Highlights include daredevil Russian riders the Ali-Bek Cossacks of Cavkas (pictured), French comedy star Pieric and the UK debut of classical Spanish riding exponents Jubin and Ana Oliver.

The Spirit of the Horse is created and directed by Phillip Gandey and Nikki Fossett.

- by Terri Paddock