Le Cadre Noir de Saumur Coliseum Ends tonight IT WAS lucky that I had a technical adviser in the form of a horse-wise friend beside me during the show. As I was busy enjoying the absolute 'Tolstoyness' of the spectacle of slim epaulette-wearing riders and their chestnut mounts cantering in precise formation to a musical backdrop, she was busy admiring the changes of step ('very difficult'). And when later we saw a horse and rider doing a perfect dressage routine I was thrilled at their military bearing and choreography, while my friend could shiver and say 'that's Olympic-medal stuff'. 'Those two are very good friends,' said my adviser approvingly as - in a virtuoso display - a member of the French national riding academy stood in the ring, his horse on a long rein responding to every tiny twitch of the bit, turning on the spot and jumping obstacles. On one level this is a technical show appreciated best by those who know horses. Many of the routines are training displays during which audience attention lapses a little. This was partly because the rather hesitant bilingual commentary and the appallingly uninformative programme simply did not help us appreciate their difficulty. But on another level - witness the two small children in front of me, motionless with excitement during the slightly grotesque 17th-century re-enactment where 'heads' on poles were removed with a sword at a gallop - it was, mostly, enjoyable on a pure level of spectacle. These horses were Pegasus - not only because they had flown for 18 hours to get here, but because as they trotted, cantered and reared on demand, they appeared to touch the clouds, not the ground. This Le French May show was billed as 'equestrian opera'. I still don't know what that is, but I would argue that it takes more than equine involvement and an opera singer, and that we did not see it in Hong Kong this weekend. But with a backdrop of music from the Hong Kong Philharmonic conducted by a lively Melanie Thebaut, and arias (mainly Carmen ) from talented soprano Lucile Vignon, the show is a memorable journey to a nostalgic past, when wars were somehow noble and military horsemanship prized.