What I did this summer as an Equiery Intern! Medieval Times in Maryland by Avery Smith

T is summer, The Equiery staff took a fi eld trip to experience Maryland’s only professional equi-tainment dinner theater, the Medieval Times at

Arundel Mills Mall. T e theater itself is known in offi cial Medieval Times company lingo as the “castle.” After the show, the Equiery staff was treated to an exclusive backstage tour of the castle stables and interview with the head trainer Georgiy Gibizov (you can see photos and video from our visit on T e Equiery’s Facebook). Founded in Spain in the 1970s, Jose Montener brought his medieval re-enactment dinner theater to the United States in 1983. T e company now has nine locations, or “castles” throughout the United States. T e Maryland castle opened in 2003. Later this summer, several Equiery staff ers and summer intern Avery Smith visited the corporation’s Maryland “ranch” to speak with Georgiy Gibi- zov and the show’s general manager Nate T ompson. Below, Avery shares with our readers what we learned this summer.

Avery Smith is a second-year undergraduate student at Trinity College of Dublin, Ireland, studying ancient history, archaeology and the history of art and architecture. T is past summer, she interned at T e Equiery, at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and for the Maryland Steeplechase Association. She has been an active rider for over ten years, participating primarily in fox chasing.

T e Knights Most of the Medieval Times knights begin with little to no horse expe-

T e Show Medieval Times executes the exact same show and script every

performance in every location across the country. T e riders (a.k.a knights), however, get to swap out who gets to play the “champion” from show to show. T e script and choreography are changed every six to seven years, and the Maryland knights are expecting to receive a new script soon, with training videos and music. Training and dress rehearsals for a new show takes around one week, and during that week, knights practice the new show in the mornings and perform the old show in the afternoon and evenings. Each show location has a “head knight,” who oversees the care of the horses. A corporate head knight visits each castle and ranch every six months. T e Maryland Castle performs over 400 shows per year, and em-

ploys a total of 180 people, including cast members, riders, produc- tion people, marketing, hospitality, maintenance and management.

T e Ranch T e Medieval Times Maryland ranch is, surprisingly, a small nonde-

script 14 acre property with a low-key family farm feel, located an easy 20-minute drive to the castle at Arundel Mills Mall. T ere is a simple, workmanlike center-aisle barn with 10 stalls and the usual tack room and wash stall. T ere are three turnout fi elds, a stonedust ring, and a rambler-style house for the head trainer and his wife. For the 20 minute trip to the castle at Arundel Mills, Georgiy Gibi-

zov loads the horses into a six horse slant-load gooseneck trailer, and rumbles up the road in a plain pick-up truck - no lettering or logos on either the truck or the trailer. T e head horse trainer for each “castle ranch” establishes his own

relationships with local suppliers, including (but not limited to) vet, farrier, feed company and hay supplier.

16 | THE EQUIERY | SEPTEMBER 2017 800-244-9580 |

rience, but become skilled horsemen over time. Nate T ompson, general manager of the Maryland show and a former knight, remarked that the show prefers to create their own riders, as the show needs very specifi c types of equestrian skills that do not always translate easily from other horse sports. Creating and training more riders (“knights”) is a constant and ongoing process within the Medieval Times organization. T e jobs of the head knight and horse trainer are challenging, as it involves teaching many diff erent horses, people, riding styles, and levels of knowledge along with maintaining all of the horses in their best condition—something as small as one heavy set of hands could send a horse askew for a while. And yes, in the world of Medieval Times, only men can become knights. T e Maryland Castle has 13 knights (riders) of varying ages and skill levels. Pictured is Maryland’s Head Knight Josh Brown, Horse Trainer Geor- giy Gibizov and Captain of the Guard/Assistant Head Knight Demet- rick Smith.

Medieval Times

Katherine O. Rizzo

Cass Ingles

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