Aurelia's Nick Handy has a job that any horse enthusiast would envy.
He is a member of the "World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions" touring production which travels to cities across the United States, including Hawaii and Canada.
He is fortunate to be one of the riders of the animals admired for their courage, spirit and beauty. The horses have been trained to perform a sort of equine ballet.
For over 30 years, the "World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions" have left millions of people awe struck with their performances. There is an emphasis on the historical background of this rare breed of horse - from its original breeding to its use as a war horse to a horse of nobility and aristocracy to a living form of art.
Handy has always been an animal lover, according to his parents, Rhonda and Don. He had his own horse while in high school and took a horse training class while in college.
After one year of college, majoring in biology, Handy decided to transfer to Meredith Manor International Equestrian Center in West Virginia. He graduated from there in August of 2003. He applied for a position with the Lipizzaners and went through an interview process in Florida. The opportunity to travel with and work with the Lipizzaners has been an awesome experience. He has been a part of the production since September of 2003.
As a rider, he is on the road most of the time. Seven to nine shows are presented each week, with stops being no more than one to two days in a particular location.
The riders travel by bus, which is equipped with 12 beds, a kitchen area and two living areas. The horses are transported by a semi-trailer.
Handy and the other riders are responsible for caring for a particular horse on a daily basis. Each rider rides several different horses.
The performances include music, choreography and routines. Showing off the grace and majesty the horses have been inbreded with is a treat for the riders and the trainers. And it is a treat for the audience to see the majestic animals.
Don and Rhonda are proud of their son and glad he is able to be a part of this experience.
"This is a great job for someone who loves horses and for someone who wants to travel," said Rhonda. "It is a wonderful experience for him and the production is fun to watch."