Horse Play - Spear's Magazine

Horse Play

THESE PICTURES, PUBLISHED for the first time here, were taken by noted equestrian photographer Henry Dallal, who was invited to Oman to cover the Royal Camel and Equestrian Show as part of the book he is producing on the Royal Cavalry of Oman. Henry says that since he has undertaken the project, he has become fascinated with the heritage of Oman and its traditional equine culture. The gala, celebrating HM the Sultan’s 40-year reign, involved 2,000 horses and camels and 2,000 musicians from massed bands. Highlighting the close ties between Oman and the United Kingdom, following The Queen’s visit in 2010, the Household Cavalry was also invited to perform.

From Spear’s 2010 profile of Henry

Combining his love of horses and photography, the pictures of Henry Dallal, who fled Iran for London with his family after the Revolution, have brought out the artist and entrepreneur in him.

Every sunrise for several years in the Nineties and early Noughties, he could be found riding out with the Household Cavalry from their barracks in Knightsbridge, taking photos of their morning order and becoming an ‘inseparable’ part of the unit. He had intended to take up with some nomadic tribe and document them, but instead the Household Cavalry invited him to exhibit in Kensington Palace.

‘What’s the difference between the Household Cavalry and a nomadic tribe?’ he says. ‘OK, it’s in front of Harrods, but it’s still a tribe, it still has a tradition, you still have to win their trust.’

Henry self-published a book of these photographs, called Pageantry and Performance: The Household Cavalry in a Celebration of Pictures, in 2003. An invitation to India ensued, and another book, Horse Warriors: India’s 61st Cavalry, which was awarded a bronze medal for Best Coffee Table book in 2009. Since then, Henry has undertaken commissions for HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum of Dubai, HRH Princess Haya and HSH Prince Albert of Monaco, and is working on books on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the King’s Troop RHA and Qatar (to be published in 2011).