Equestrian sports have been a part of the Olympic Games since 1900, but there have been calls for them to be culled from the event due to their expense. Add the fact that outsiders view horse sports as elitist and you get a share of detractors who don’t watch or even understand dressage, show jumping or eventing.
US Equestrian (the governing body of the sport in the United States) understands this challenge and in an effort to broaden the sport’s appeal, worked with global music superstar Megan Thee Stallion. The three-time Grammy winning recording artist is featured in a new commercial for NBC, the American network with broadcast rights to the Games of the XXXIII Olympiad, which begin July 26, 2024, in Paris, France.
The promotional spot finds Megan performing during “Thee Paris Olympics” at the Palace of Versailles – the host of next summer’s Olympic and Paralympic equestrian competitions – with U.S. High Performance dressage horses (and riders) as her backup dancers. Shot at Canadian/American Olympic medalist Ashley Holzer’s farm in Wellington, Florida, the “team” included Holzer on Valentine, Katherine Bateson-Chandler on Grand Charmeur, Anna Buffini on Beach Boy, Susie Dutta on Don Design DC, Laura Graves on SenSation FOD, and Kasey Perry-Glass on Heartbeat W.P. According to Holzer, their part was filmed in approximately three hours, but from the arrival of the crew to the final clean-up took three days. The shoot comprised of the horse-and-rider combos riding individually and as an ensemble, performing piaffe, passage and canter pirouettes.
To create the Versailles scene and have Megan appear alongside the horses and riders the NBC crew created a full green screen set-up in Holzer’s covered arena –a new experience for horses and riders. “Some of the horses were a little bit better behaved than the other horses, but there were a lot of lights, a lot of music, a lot of stimuli,” Holzer admitted in an interview on the US Equestrian site.
Megan’s part was filmed separately and through the magic of post-production, the two shoots are edited together with visual effects to create the final video. Later in the commercial, the songstress is joined by her own fire-breathing talking horse. Then the ad moves from Versailles to an executive board room where doubtful marketing executives listen to Megan proclaim, “And that is Thee Olympics, Hot Girl Style.”
Even if you’re not into Megan Thee Stallion’s music, she has the pop culture cred to bring the sport to legions of her fans that would otherwise not know a piaffe from a half-pass, something that Holzer might agree with. “I think it was so great for our sport to actually be called on to do this commercial,” Holzer tells US Equestrian. “I’m so grateful to NBC for including us and to the staff there who were so understanding of the horses. It was a really fun day of shooting. NBC’s crew made it a really great experience.”
Watch the ad here:
Hotties, we going to Thee Paris Olympics. Be ready on July 2024, Hot Girl Style! #parisolympics