Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lipizzan Horses of Austria

Herrmann's Lipizzan Stallions was our destination today, and it was a trip worth making to us. Founded in the 16th century for the exclusive use of the Hapsburg Royal family of Austria, the Royal Lipizzans are unquestionably the rarest, most aristocratic breed of horses in the world. The pride of the Hapsburg Empire, the Lipizzan breed was first established by Archduke Charles at Lipizza (now part of Yugoslavia).
Only a few hundred have ever existed at any one time. Indeed, it is a contemporary miracle of sorts that this precious bloodline is not extinct, having barely been saved by General George Patton from the Russian advance during World War II. The Lipizzans' celebrated escape was recounted in the Walt Disney movie, "Miracle of the White Stallions".
Assisting Patton in the clandestine mission to rescue the regal Lipizzans, Colonel Herrmann and his father, Colonel Ottomar Herrmann, Sr., smuggled the horses out from far behind enemy lines, riding at night and hiding by day. "We moved out into the night with nothing," recalled Herrmann, "only a handful of horses". The Lipizzans' they saved under the protection granted by Patton, were "more precious than jewels", he declared.
Colonel Herrmann, joined by two subsequent generations of Herrmanns, created an American renaissance of classical equitation's. His family maintains a 200 acre ranch in Florida to ensure the propagation of this extraordinary breed.
All Airs Above the Ground, originally outlined by Xenophon the Greek, derive from defensive horsemanship created for war and predated-dated the birth of Christ by some 400 years. These spectacular leaps and plunges were originally meant for use by mounted riders to inspire terror in the hearts of foot soldiers.
That this nearly lost art remains alive, is due in very large part, to the commitment of Colonel Herrmann, scion of the Herrmann family, and historically among the world's greatest trainers of this rare breed.
In a lively and informative narrative throughout the presentation of his remarkable stallions, the history, evolution and contemporary application of this most sophisticated horse and rider training is recounted. It is repeatedly noted that extreme patience and, most particularly, love are the requisites to such highly schooled animals. Herrmann epitomized the master of classical European equitation.


unschoolermom said...

They are so beautiful! Thank you for sharing!


kakno said...

I love horses and these are by far the most beautiful. Dd says put a horn on them and you have a unicorn for a movie ;)

Vicki & Jim said...

Hey, I thought those horses looked familiar. Your right by us, we are in Venice. Email me maybe we could get together for a picnic or something.
Those horses are so beautiul in person.

little castle said...

The horses were incredible. We loved the ones we spent time with today also. We'd love to get together. I'll email tomorrow to work out the details.

laurie l. goodman said...

Great shots!

little castle said...

They are truly beautiful horses and I had the same thought about them needing horns and then they'd be unicorns. If you ever have a chance to see them in person, I highly recommend it.

Thanks for the compliments on the shots Laurie, sometimes I get lazy with photography-I worked for these shots.