Friday, May 25, 2012

Spotlight On: APASSIONATA's Sylvie Willms

Philips Arena is thrilled to welcome APASSIONATA “The Beginning” to Atlanta on June 23* for two performances! This show features over 40 horses from across 13 breeds that are trained and handled by an extremely diverse group of people. Here’s an inside look at what it takes to become an internationally acclaimed equestrian:

Meet one of APASSIONATA’s stars: Sylvie Willms! Sylvie was truly born to ride. She comes from a family of horse experts, including father Alex and mother Céline, who have been training and riding thoroughbred horses in Belgium and France for more than 300 years. The family is often touring with their horses, but when they aren’t, you can find them at their castle in Burgundy, France, training horses for film productions. This year, however, Sylvie will be hitting the road to join APASSIONATA “The Beginning” on their North American tour. She will be performing several numbers of freestyle Liberty Dressage and Friesian Quadrille.

Sylvie works with her horses every day, which has lead her to develop special relationships with them. Her 18-year-old Lusitano (an ancient Portuguese breed developed for war, dressage, and bull-fighting), named Litador, is no exception. Litador joined the Willms family when he was three years old and was extremely timid from being ridden at too early of an age. Sylvie remained patient and, by taking his training slowly, gradually persuaded Litador to trust her. Now, the Lusitano allows Sylvie to ride him with no reservations.

Though Sylvie’s numbers in APASSIONATA “The Beginning” make dressage and quadrille look easy, it is anything but. She works with each of her horses every day, even if she’s only watching sometimes. According to Sylvie, “You need an incredible amount of patience and time for every single horse.” It’s clear that she provides this, too. All you have to do is watch her Arabian, Friesian, and Arab-Welsh horses gracefully dance through the arena to know that her passion and patience have truly made her a star!

*APASSIONATA “The Beginning” at Philips Arena on June 23 has been cancelled.

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