Seventh Generation Circus Family Reinvent Their Equine Act

Thursday, February 23, 2017
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Renee Gasser

Renee Gasser perfoms at the Grand Oaks Equestrian Resort

On Valentine’s Day 2017, The Grand Oaks Equestrian Resort featured a stunning performance  of the Gayla of the Royal Horse. Renee Gasser and his group with a selection of beautiful horses, Lipizzaners, Friesians, and Lucitanos educated and entertained a full house during the afternoon matinee.

VIP seating with an elegant lunch and champagne was sold out. Every woman in attendance was given a long stemmed rose. For horse lovers knowledgable or not, the group entertained and explained so much about the breeds represented as well as the progression in training of many of the high performance moves in Dressage.

Adding to the romance was an infusion of Spanish dance and dress and live music, creating a captivating afternoon that left everyone smiling.

Well known local Dressage and show jumper rider and trainer Juan Ledgard joined the group who are now based out of Ocala, Florida and are booking performances which are scheduled on their website.


The Gassers are an old Swiss circus family. When Rene was born, he inherited seven generations of circus tradition. This inheritance led him to a life’s experience in performing and showmanship. His career as a lion trainer, acrobat, gymnast, and strongman as well as horse trainer took him to Switzerland, Germany, Israel, Ireland and Japan. When Rene emigrated from Switzerland with his parents and sisters, they developed Circus Sonelli and with it, followed the well worn Australian circus circuit. But the world of the Circus is dying recently evidenced with the news of the upcoming final performances of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. Talented horsemen and performers are reinventing themselves bringing with them their love and passion for the horse and what they do. Many are now located in Florida, much to the benefit of all who flock to the sunshine state.

Whether you are a serious horseman who focusses mostly on competing, or just a lover of the beauty and elegance quality horseflesh done in an entertaining way, the Gayla of the Royal Horse is sure to leave you with an appreciation of the scope of what this group brings to the arena.

Juan Ledgard

Local Dressage and showjumping trainer who competes often at the grand Oaks, joins the troup ato ride with the Gasser family for performances.

The survival and development of dressage and horsemanship is due, in part, to the prominence of horse acts in circuses, especially the grand circuses of the 18th and 19th centuries. As well as trick riding, vaulting, liberty training and Roman riding (where the rider stands on the backs of two galloping horses side by side), the lessons of the Haute École, or high school were taught and became highlight performances in the great circuses of Europe.

The Grand Oaks Resort, a USET Training Center, and show location for Driving, Dressage and Showjumping is currently booking other act and performances which draws in not only their winter residents, but the population of the nearby Villages community.

Visit their website to learn more.

Enjoy the image gallery.