Brazils new president, Jair Bolsonaro, was waving to his supporters from his vintage Rolls-Royce as if nothing was wrong, but all eyes were on one anxious horse refusing to stick to the script.
The first couples ostentatious journey from the main cathedral to the congress building in capital Brasilia on Boxing Day afternoon was ripe for exactly this kind of faux pas.
At the front of the procession were 10 motorcycles in a V-formation, red-and-blue lights blazing, then horses bearing cavalrymen in ceremonial military uniform, and finally the presidents personal bodyguards jogging alongside the open-top black car, in which Bolsonaro and wife Michelle stood upright, looking as tense as a young royal wedding couple.
Aside from a man in a black suit dropping from a heart attack, it was always likely the horse would prove the weak link of the elaborate arrangement, and that proved to be the case.
A video shows one of the white steeds suddenly becoming skittish as it prances across, despite desperate attempts to rein it in by the rider. Eventually, the horse begins to back up, causing panic among the animals beside it, before three of them bump into the security detail, who begin their job of protecting the head of state – roughly pushing the horses on their rumps. With the way blocked, the limousine has to stop, and the president can no longer pretend that everythings fine, and stops waving, looking bemused instead.
Eventually, the impasse is resolved, and a few smacks later, the bodyguards are exchanging high-fives, and the slow-moving journey proceeds. While the day was more notable for Bolsonaros promise that “Brazil is saved from socialism,” something tells us he will remember the horse incident in as clear detail as any of the words he said.
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