Title: Marvellous Horsemen | Wonderful Feats by Cossacks at the Wild West Show at Earl's Court

Periodical: The Morning

Date: June 3, 1892

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MARVELLOUS HORSEMEN.

Wonderful Feats by Cossacks at the Wild West Show at Earl's Court.

A band of Cossacks from the Caucusus have come to town. They were brought here by Colonel Cody and are now one of the most brilliant features of the Wild West Show at Earl's Court. The American Cowboy, the American Indian and the Mexican Vaquero, must look to their laurels. It is difficult to imagine more difficult feats of horsemanship than those performed by the Cowboys on the bucking bronchos. Antonio Escoval, the leader of the Mexicans, handles a horse as though he were a direct descendant of the Centaurs. The Indians sit a bare-backed steed as if they had grown there, yet all of them have something to learn from Prince Ivan Makharadze's Cossacks.

The Cossacks number 10, but such marvellous riders are they that, even is so large an arena as that at Earl's Court, a larger detachment would probably show to less advantage. For mere picturesqueness it is a close race between the different races and nationalities that compose the Wild West Show. At present, even in this respect, the Cossacks appear to be in the van. Their garb is in marked contrast to that of the Indians, Mexicans, and Cowboys. The Mexican is fond of fine clothes and trappings, but his attire fits him like a glove. The Cowboy's garb is of much the same character, though generally less gorgeous in colouring. The Indian has a weakness for ornaments, and an objection to wearing apparel, except paint, when on parade. The Cossack, on the other hand, carries much clothing upon his person, but though much of it may seem cumbrous, it certainly does not interfere with his freedom of movement.

These wild riders of the gloomy Russian steppes appear in voluminous cloaks of yellow, brown, and green, that stream in the wind as they dash around the arena. On their heads are small, round Astrachan caps. Cavalry boots cover the feet and the lower part of the legs. Each Cossack is a mounted arsenal. He has weapons for carving and boring. When his pistols are empty he can fall back upon his sword. If he lose that he still has his poignard, and with all these weapons he is marvellously dexterous. They can ride, these Cossacks can. They sing as they ride, but it is necessary to be educated down to their singing to enjoy it. Many, however, prefer their singing to the vocal efforts of the Red Men. As dancers, the Indians are not in it with the Cossacks. Even in their heavy boots the Cossacks are able to electrify the spectators with their dancing.

It is as horsemen, however, that they shine most brilliantly. The horses they ride are some of Col. Cody's bronchos. With these they do some wonderful work. Picking up a handkerchief from the ground while galloping at top speed is beginner's work to them. They stand in the saddle, on their feet or on their hands, while their horses whirl around the arena, and seem to keep their balance without an effort. The Wild West Show was a stupendous attraction before the coming of the Cossacks. Since arrival of the latter there is apparently nothing more to be desired.

Title: Marvellous Horsemen | Wonderful Feats by Cossacks at the Wild West Show at Earl's Court

Periodical: The Morning

Source: McCracken Research Library, Buffalo Bill Center of the West, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody Collection, MS6, MS6.3778.042.05 (1892 London)

Date: June 3, 1892

Keywords: American Indians Caucasus Centaurs Clothing and dress Cossacks Cowboys Dance Ethnic costume Exhibitions Horsemanship Horsemen Horses Indians of North America Mexicans Scrapbooks Steppes Traveling exhibitions Weapons Wild horses

Places: Earl's Court (London, England) London (England)

Sponsor: This project is supported in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Geraldine W. & Robert J. Dellenback Foundation.

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