Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lipizzaner Horses!

Happy first of May! May is such a short, clean, flowing sort of word. May.

Unfortunately, I'm also swamped. (Another lovely word.) My AP exams are next week, and the honors state tests after that. (They're called SOLs in Virginia. I don't know what they're called elsewhere.) I hate it when schoolwork trumps everything else, but life has been designed that way for me. By the adults who keep me focused on The Future.

I'm currently watching a documentary on PBS on Lipizzaner horses, which are apparently very, very famous and very, very prestigious. The program's called Nature: Legendary White Stallions. Here are some quick notes:

  • In the Spanish Riding School, all 73 horses are taken seriously.
  • The man in charge is the equiary. (sp?)
  • All of the horses are descended from just six horses!
  • Personality is crucial in determining where their stalls are in the stable.
  • The school was founded by a king in the early 1700s.
  • But there are no books in this school; all the knowledge is passed on orally.
  • Horseback riding (dancing?) is an artwork, a craft, to them.
  • These horses are trained to be able to rear on two legs, and to leap and kick their back hooves at the same time. Also, they're trained to get through an obstacle course with minimal aid from the rider.
  • The white horses are born brown or black; it takes six years for their coats to turn white.*
  • While at one point these horses came in all colors, they've selectively bred for white for centuries. Now, a dark coat on a horse is rare and lucky.
  • These horses are the best documented in the world, courtesy of the Austrian(Hungarian?) bureaucracy.
  • Earliest, the Moors, or the Muslim nomads, used these horses to invade Spain. They conquered it in the year 711.This time period was characterized by religious tolerance and a Golden Age.
  • It would take 700 years until the Christians took it back, under the leadership of Isabella and Ferdinand. In the infamous Spanish Inquisition.**
  • These Arabic left their mark on horse-breeding in Spain, though. Beauty, refinement, power -- these Spanish horses became coveted luxuries.
  • In the 1500s, classical horse riding became popular again. Archduke Charles of Austria came to bring these horses into European popularity and to domesticate them to the landscape. (1580?)

Well, that's what I've got. I'm eating supper, watching TV, and writing a blog post at the same time, so pardon any inaccuracies. I'm prone to mishearing things.

Horses are an interesting topic. I haven't really seen a horse since a questionable memory of my older sister riding them in fairs. (That might have been a dream. I don't know.) But I've always wanted to be able to ride one. Animals are lovely, intelligent creatures, and I'd kinda like to see that same personality in a horse's eyes that I see in a cat's.

But this is me meandering. Pontificating. Etc.

How about you? Do you love horses? Did you find a bit of this interesting, or perhaps all of it? Anything I said that sounds inaccurate? Have a blessed Wednesday!

*This is not too shocking to me. It reminds me of how Siamese kittens are born completely white, but the color on their face, paws, and tail come in later. I've raised plenty of Siamese kittens. I know. I've also raised cats whose eyes start out blue but turn yellow over time, but that's only indirectly related.

**I recently read a verse novel on the Spanish Inquisition. Actually, it's the last post before this one -- you see it? Right there in the Blog Archives. It's called the Apprentice's Masterpiece. Also, let me clarify: the Spanish Inquisition was super evil and lasted 3 centuries; it killed hundreds of thousands. I might do a post on that sometime.

1 comment:

  1. I saw these horses perform when they went on tour when I was a teenager. It was pretty impressive. :)