Hippodrama, horse drama, or equestrian drama is a genre of theatrical show blending circus horsemanship display with popular melodrama theatre. Kimberly Poppiti defines it as, "plays written or performed to include a live horse or horses enacting significant action or characters as a necessary part of the plot." Arthur Saxon defines the form similarly, as “[...] literally a play in which trained horses are considered as actors, with business, often leading actions, of their own to perform.” Evolving from earlier equestrian circus, pioneered by equestrians including, most famously, Philip Astley in the 1760s, it relied on drama plays written specifically for the genre; trained horses were considered actors along with humans and were even awarded leading roles. Anthony Hippisley-Coxe described hippodrama as "a bastard entertainment born of a misalliance between the circus and the theatre ... that actually inhibited the development of the circus".
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