Thursday, February 13, 2014

Lippizans, revisited

If you're not interested in horses, or me going on about horses, don't read any further.....

JoAnn hasn't seen the Herrmann Lippizan's schooling sessions since she's been here in Florida, so today we drove to Myakka City and sat in the warm sun to enjoy the beautiful stallions perfect their skills.      Before the session she and I walked through the barns and fed them carrots while Dave held our top row seats outside in the bleachers.

I was surprised at how mannerly they were and how gently they took the carrots from our hands.   A few times, however, we were reminded that they are indeed stallions with all the stallion's natural instincts intact.   I only saw this happen once or twice (the result of a perceived threat from the guy in the next stall) and they were over in a second.    They reminded me, again, how well behaved and well handled these horses really are.

these flare-ups were lightning fast. I couldn't focus to get a better picture

Other times they seemed dreamy, sleepy, alert and even silly.   It was fun just watching them be horses.


Then it was time for the show!     The last time we watched these horses with Pam and Vic, they all behaved well and tried hard to do what was asked of them.  

Today it was windy and cool and it seemed to affect the horses.    Those of us who've ever owned horses know first hand the impact a windy day has on a horse.   It seems to make them "feel their oats", feel frisky, shy at the slightest provocation, buck, fart, race about and generally act like lunatics.  Don't ask me why, but I know some of you will be nodding your heads and smiling knowingly as you read this.

Gabriella spent a good amount of time before entering the ring trying to steady the young horse in front and get him moving in a forward direction, four feet on the ground.   He wasn't having it.    Jigging, dancing, trying to turn around, rearing and generally being a brat.   She was patient, calm and insistent and eventually he settled down and gave us all a beautiful performance.  

This young man appeared to be trying out for the rodeo, bucking horse division.   His rider was patient and seemed to have a sense of humor about her mounts inclinations but he gave her quite a ride.   He bucked with every stride of the canter and tested her attention at every turn.  He tried to rear, he shook his head and twisted his tail.  He tried to run away with her, he tried every silly trick in the book but she persisted.    Finally Gabriella stopped the music, and insisted that his rider just "ride him through it".    She must have been exhausted by the time he finally settled.   Once he was walking calmly and accepting her cues willingly,  the music was turned back on and the routine began all over again.    I really enjoyed seeing how they worked with and through their horses high spirits to satisfactory end.

a great Capriole attempt

all's well that ends well

We capped off our day with a delicious dinner at Indigenous in the Towles Court section of Sarasota.


  1. Wow...what a nice surprise to see more of these horses. Sounds like so much fun. Thanks for sharing this on the blog. Loved the very elegant form of the rider in that closeup shot.

  2. It's neat to read your posts about horses...a subject I know nothing about...until you give your readers all these wonderful insights into horse behavior. Now I feel like I understand horses just a little better, they are no longer large, sort of scary, alien animals; but instead are a little more knowable like dogs and cats!