“Dancing Horses” brings equestrian excitement to NWSS

The Denver Post

By Tom Mcghee

Kim and Yvonne Barteau will pool their talents with another world-class horse trainer and performer, Dan James, when they show off dressage and other riding skills at the 2016 National Western Stock Show’s An Evening of Dancng Horses.

The show, Jan. 20-21, brings equestrian talent together with live music from the Denver Brass for an evening of formal dressage and other forms of riding.

The Barteaus met James, 34, at an equine expo event, where the three performed. “We just kind of fell in together,” said Kim Barteau, 57, who has broken more than 700 horses and trained many more.

“You see somebody that does really good work,” he said, “and you want to stick around and see how they do it.”

Today, the Barteaus, of KYB Dressage in Illinois, and James, an Australian who works with Double Dan Horsemanship, join each other for a few shows a year.

The Barteaus train riders and horses in dressage, a style of riding performed at the Olympics.

James does shows, reining and other riding style demonstrations. He also trains horses and riders.

Combined, they will bring 13 horses, and another 10 or so crew members, to the Dancing Horses event. It will feature music and costuming influenced by shows such as “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Alice in Wonderland. “

Dancing Horses is one of a number of horse shows at the National Western.

There is Invitational Freestyle Reining, Quarter Horse Show, Paint Horse Show, U.S. Equestrian Federation Hunter/Jumper Show, Reined Cowhorse Show, and Draft Horse and Mule Show.

“Each one of the horse shows draws a little bit different crowd,” said stock show president Paul Andrews.

An Evening with Dancing Horses “has a little bit of everything. You come to that show, and you can see different disciplines, reining, dressage, specialty shows,” Andrews said.

James will be performing with American quarterhorses and Australian stock horses.

He will guide his horses through a series of circles, spins and stops in a reining horse demonstration. And in other events, he will forgo reins and direct the animals vocally.

The Barteaus will bring their KYB team to perform dressage, on which the couple has concentrated for 16 years, said Kim Barteau.

The two met when both worked at Arabian Nights Dinner Attraction in Kissimmee, Fla., an entertainment venue that presented equine shows in a dining hall that held 1,200 people.

Yvonne Barteau grew up in Toronto, where her passion for horses set her apart from the other children.

No one in her family rode. As a teen, she created an imaginary world that included a stable of horses that she trained and rode.

“I barrel-raced, jumped, galloped and went on long trail rides on my own equine legs,” she said on KYB’s website. “On garbage day, I cantered down the road finding ways to jump people’s trash piles as a horse from the waist down and rider from the waist up. I became a bit of a laughingstock in my neighborhood.”

After high school, she got a job as a groom at a Toronto racetrack. After six years, she moved to Florida and began retraining race horses for show careers, she said.

Eventually, the couple gave up entertainment to take jobs as head trainers at Indian Hills Training Center in Gilberts, Ill.

They started training and competing dressage horses in earnest, and launched KYB.

“We took a leap of faith and moved here when dressage was growing really fast,” Kim Barteau said. “We were lucky enough to get some young, talented horses.”