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Of Gods and Kings – The Skyros Horse

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Of Gods and Kings – The Skyros Horse 

The girls at Horsefly Films have done it again! Of Gods and Kings – The Skyros Horse is a fascinating and gripping 30 minute documentary about the critically endangered Skyrian horse, found on the Skyros Island in Greece.

I was privileged to see a first cut of this film when at the Arabian Breeders’ World Cup in Las Vegas last year, and you could have heard a pin drop in the room. From the enchanting beginnings to the moving end, Of Gods and Kings highlights the moving plight of the Skyrian horse – a breed that I had not even heard of until I watched this film – and the duty that we should all have to protect them.

Through interviews with breeders, including Stathis Katsarelias and Amanda Simpson of the Katsarelias-Simpson Stud on Skyros, Nikos Kritikos of the Skyrian Horse Society, and Dr Sheilagh Brown of Skyrian Horses, Scotland, the picture, and plight, of the Skyrian horse reveals itself.

From the opening scenes of Ancient Greece and the art and artefacts that are inextricably linked to this time, the voiceover tells us of the legends that abound on the Island about the Skyrian horse, and how horses have lived on Skyros since the 5th century BC. The following interviews are carefully thought-out and the responses are, at times, passionate and moving. Part of the issue is around finding new lines to preserve the Skyrian horse, which is where, hopefully, Sheilagh’s breeding programme in Scotland will come in.

This documentary leaves a lasting impression on you, and the haunting scenes and plight of the Skyrian horse stays with you long after you have finished watching. Upon watching it, you want to do more, you want to help these beautiful horses of Skyros.

Of Gods and Kings is the first in the Horsefly Films Rare Equine Trust series and the filmmakers say: “The RARE series of films captures the beauty, history and the fragile position of rare breeds and the work of those trying to preserve them, establishing a necessary and compelling film folio for equine enthusiasts, social historians and general audiences while archiving these breeds and related cultures for posterity.”

Jen Miller and Sophie Dia Pegrum, the eyes and vision behind Horsefly Films, have made a thought-provoking and engaging documentary that will be appreciated by equine enthusiasts the world over. Through raising awareness of the Skyrian horse, as well as the other rare equine breeds this series will cover, it is hoped that the horses will be around to be enjoyed for many generations to come.

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