Saturday, December 11, 2010

Leaping Lipizzans

Having seen the Miracle of the White Stallions movie by Disney as a child and having seen a performance of the lovely animals in Las Vegas years ago, when I discovered there was a Lipizzan stallion training center less than 50 miles from our campground I told Denny we were going!
The training center is operated by the daughter of Colonel Herrmann who assisted General Patton in saving the Lipizzan breed from destruction by the Russian armies during WWII. The riders and trainers are all women as the few men remaining in the family have other interests. Of course the horses were originally trained for use in battle and their rearing and kicking moves, specifically the Levade, the Courbette and the Capriole, were used to intimidate foot soldiers. Today the dressage movements (training the movements and steps of the horses while the horse is on a long line) and Airs Above the Ground are performed for their beauty and expression of the strength and stamina of these beautiful animals.

Heather is riding a young stallion who is wearing a saddle for the first time. It was obvious the horse was unused to the saddle and wanted to misbehave and even buck, but Heather kept him well in hand and rode him beautifully. This stallion is five years old and thus is still gray. The Lipizzans are born black or dark brown and turn white as they age. The horses today were not "sparkling white" due to the fact that they had been turned out in the pastures and not bathed due to the weather having turned cold. They were still awesome!

The Levade position while on a lead.
The Levade with a rider.
Taking a bow.
Taking a bow.
I missed the name of the breed of this pony, but this particular animal was rescued from an abusive breeder. The pony was kept in an enclosed stall for the first three years of its life and never saw the light of day until rescued by the Herrmann family. Today young audience members can take a ride on the pony after the show.
Another rescue animal is this thirty-two year old miniature horse being ridden by a five year old family member. What a pair of show stealers! This little guy also gave pony rides at the end of the performance.

All I can say is, thank goodness these wonderful horses were saved all those years ago.

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Linda in New Mexico said...

I just love this story and the photos. I remember reading that Patton had been instrumental in the rescue of the breed. Thank goodness for this lovely family as well.
Gorgeous animals. The Olde Bagg, Linda


what a great story..and some beautiful horses!

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