The Wild West show's female employees brought more grace to the Georgians' performances. The first Gurian woman who made it to America was Frida Mgaloblishvili. She arrived in 1893. Very little is known about Frida. She was born on August 7, 1871 in Ozurgeti.

  From left: Vasil Chkonia, David Chkonia, Frida Mgaloblishvili, Dimitri Mgaloblishvili, Zosime Pataraia  

On April 1, 1894,The Morning Journal ran an interview with Frida Mgaloblishvili. According to the interviewer, Frida, “a genuine lady” had been sent to Paris where she had collected a perfect command of French, German, Italian and English. The following is a shortened version of this interview: “Riding may almost be said to be born with us. Far back as I can remember, the back of a horse was my chair, almost my cradle. I have never learned riding, never been taught it as most performers are. All the fancy riding I do I did as a child for pure fun in emulation and rivalry of others in my native land. We Cossack women, though we do not vote and practice law or medicine, are born to a greater degree of freedom than your American ladies... The women in my country, too, have all the material habits of men. They smoke about as much, the delicate, light tobacco grown in our valleys or imported Turkish. They drink with equal freed the light, bright wines of the Caucasus. Being wine, no spirit drinkers, unlike the Russians, we are an extremely sober people. Drunkenness is almost unknown among us... Possibly our climate has something to do with the harmony that reigns among us. Possibly our open-air life contributes to this end by making us healthier. Well, our region doesn’t oppress us. We are of the Greek Church, and, like the Catholics, we have many holly days, which are holidays. Suppose you visit the Caucasus, you need no letters of introduction. You are invited to stay in the best houses as long as you please, and everything in the house is at your disposal... We live chiefly by agriculture and hunting. In my girlhood, I have seen wild animals shot from my bedroom window. Our chief drink, next to wine is tea... Our people are heartly eaters, but fatness is rare. The men, though slender, are stronger than any I have yet seen... Our dancing is peculiar. I cannot describe it to you... One of the things that very greatly pleases the spectators is our shooting, when standing on horseback...”

According to the press, Frida used to perform with one or four horses. Those who witnessed her breathtaking performance at Madison Square Garden could easily say that she was born a rough rider. Frida Mgaloblishvili performed for only two years, afterwards never returning to America and dropping out of view.


Kristine Tsintsadze


Another lady rider, Christine Tsintsadze spent her childhood in Lanckhuti and in her relatives' words she often pretended that she had business in neighboring villages just to be able to ride a horse. By and large, Luka Chkhartishvili was responsible for encouraging female riders to go to America. Crossing the Atlantic was a strenuous experience, not to mention exhaustive daily training and performances, but the ladies coped with it like the men did. Christine Tsintsadze's parents were against sending their daughter to a distant country but she was strongly determined to go, undergoing training at Luka's training fields to prepare herself. Christine went to America in 1908 with a group of riders.

She was an extremely brave lady. Once, when her horse fell, she hit her head on the ground and lost several teeth but nevertheless managed to finish her set and was awarded fancy clothes, a golden watch and a ring. All in all, she had three near death experiences during four years but stubbornly went on performing. It's worth mentioning that her admirers attempted to kidnap her a couple of times but failed thanks to Christine's Georgian colleagues. Later, Ms. Tsintsadze recalled that nearly all her fans, even the women, tried to kiss her on the mouth after performances. "Probably it was my white teeth in 'perfect' shape that they liked" - joked Christine. She returned to Georgia in 1912 and whole town of Lantckhuti turned out to meet her and another group of riders at the station like heroes. On her deathbed, Christine gave away all her dresses and other personal belongings that she had been presented with in America and regretfully burned a huge box full of private correspondences.




The Zakareishvili Sisters, Maro and Barbale, began to ride in their native Surebi at an early age. Crowds marveled at Maro Kvitaishvili’s ability to ride three horses simultaneously, often asking her to show them her soles to make sure she had no glue on them. For her outstanding achievements she was presented a golden ring by one of the show's organizer. Barbale and her husband Christephore Imnadze stayed in America and continued to perform. One of the highlights of Barbale's set was when she rode with the American flag in her hands while standing on the shoulders of two galloping riders. Barbale Imnadze died in 1988 in Chicago.

  Clockwise from left: Kirile Pirtskhalaishvili, Kitilia Kvitaishvili, Kristephore Imnadze, Veliko Kvitaishvili, Varden Kvitaishvili, Barbale Zakareishvili - Imnadze, Maro Zakareishvili - Kvitaishvili  

Maro Zakareishvili