Big & Little: Caroline H. Williams
Caroline Williams will be performing with her mini, Chabo, and Friesian, Tesoro, at the show.
Caroline is an eighth-generation performer from a well-known European circus and equestrian family. Born in Germany, her mother, Jeanette Williams, is the only woman to present a liberty act of 24 Lippizan stallions, which she did in their own Circus Williams in Germany.
In 1968 the entire family, including the circus’ herd of Asian elephants, performing tigers and 32 prized horses, arrived in the U.S. to open a new edition of the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.
The Williams family entertained thousands of people for many years and it was here where Caroline received her first training, performing for the first time at age two, and eventually working with her liberty horses and performing as a bareback and dressage rider.
Caroline honed her craft at Arabian Nights, a dinner theater in Orlando, Fla., where she performed in many riding styles, including Western reining, bullwhip on horseback, trick riding, bareback (rosin back riding), liberty, riding without saddle or bridle, high school dressage, side saddle, quadrille, jumping and Roman riding. She became one of the show’s lead performers and later worked as assistant to the head trainer.
In 1996 after touring with Circus Vargas, she returned to Europe with her own performing horses, Liberty Big and Little (a Friesian stallion and miniature horse), Friesian stallion dressage high school and three Percherons for a bareback-riding act. Her first stop was the Austrian National Circus.
For five years, she and her horses performed with a traveling horse musical, The Zauberwald (The Magical Forest), based in Germany, which toured Europe with 70 horses of all breeds, 45 artists and technical staff.
According to Caroline, her heart lies with classical dressage “as it is the foundation of balance and harmony between the horse and rider.” While in Germany she attended the School of Dressage and Horsemanship in Wahrendorf.
She returned to the U.S. and Canada to tour with the traveling horse theater, “Cheval,” created by the former director of creation for Cirque du Soleil. There she trained and presented six bay Andalusian horses at liberty, was the principal female rider for the quadrille and performed th solo dressage high school atop a stunning Friesian.
“My passion and heart lie with the horse and I’ve been very grateful that my career has revolved around these majestic and multifaceted animals,” said Caroline. “Every horse, big or small, that I’ve trained or worked with has a special place in my heart…from the super intelligent Mini’s to the gentle giant draft breeds, the fiery Andalusian and proud, willing Friesians.”