| Theater |

Odysseo Cements Humans' Dominion Over All of Horsekind

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Sorry, horses. It's over.

The long and storied battle you have waged with humans is done. We, the humans, have won. We have made you our transportation, carrying knights in armor and cowboys and postal mail across all kinds of difficult terrain. We have made you our sport, betting on your speed at the track and using you in our polo games.

And now, with Odysseo, which returned to Miami last night, we have made your our entertainment.

In short, we have made you our bitch.

In fairness, you've been fighting a losing battle for ages now. It's not like we haven't spent the past couple centuries on your backs, riding you around, digging our heels into your sides, lashing your asses with switches. Some of us specialize solely in "breaking" you. And when you're actually broken -- sick, or injured -- more often than not, we simply dispose of you like a worn-out My Little Pony.

But what really sealed the deal, in our opinion, was Odysseo. As the show opened and you wandered out onto the stage, we held our breath. Nothing, save a low ridge, separated you from the front rows of the audience. A couple of you sauntered up to it and stuck your heads out over the edge. Now's their chance! we panicked. A sudden stampede now could destroy us all!

But you didn't attack. You wandered back to the center of the stage, and proceeded to perform a variety of tricks for our amusement. Led by your trainers, you jumped fences; you galloped in circles; you paraded in lines like a marching band. Not everything went off without a hitch; some of you wandered out of place from time to time, and one of you paused mid-act to mount and hump a fellow steed. But mostly, and unbelievably, you did just about everything we humans asked you to do. We were awed at the mastery of your training. But more than that, we were genuinely struck by the beauty of what we saw on stage last night -- and, as you may have guessed, we are not "horse people."

Still, part of us felt a little sad watching you prance around out there. This wasn't how we thought it would end for you, horses. We've never loved you, but we've always had a healthy respect for your strength and stamina. Maybe we've been brainwashed by all that romantic, majestic horse propaganda. But to see you give it all up -- and for what? a couple sugar cubes? -- just didn't seem right.

Horses, it's been a good run. (No pun intended.) It seems like the folks at Odysseo are treating you kindly, utter domination aside, and we hope that's true. But we won't be going back to see you there again. It seems cruel, somehow, to keep flaunting our control over your very being. We prefer to remember you as you once were, the "wild horses" in Westerns and fairy tales.

Just don't forget who keeps you in carrots.

Odysseo runs through March 25 at the Big Top at Bicentennial Park, 1075 Biscayne Blvd., Miami. Visit cavalia.net.

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