“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.”
“We will jump only if we want to jump.”
Scroll down to see more photos and read more about The Tempel Lipizzans.
“When the horses demonstrate the crossover steps, they remind me of figure skaters. We’re so close to the performance that we can see the steam exhaled by the horses!”
Lisa and I wanted to attend the Holiday Highlight Performance by The Tempel Lipizzans last year, but we were late to the party. Fast forward to this year, and we are here.
With our friends Tracy and Larry, we settled into the stands of an indoor small arena. The event was sold out. Festive holiday decor adorned the performance area and the entire Lipizzan Farms. An emcee led us through the afternoon’s program. We could feel the excitement build as the light, sweet smell of horses started to drift into the arena. Slowly the wooden gate swung open, and a hush fell as the soft hoof prints of horses pressed into the fine sandy soil.
Beautiful white horses strolled by and began to perform demonstrations of delicate, intricate movements that no ordinary horse could pull off. Tracy said it best that the Lipizzan stallions moved like figure skaters. Their movements were light and precise. Everything was relaxed and quiet. The rumpling of the traditional heavy dressage of the riders could be heard. The breathing of the horses also filled the air. The peacefulness reminded me of observing Buddhist priests perform their ceremonies at temples in Japan. Everything was quiet and respectful. And there seemed to be a harmonic nature to the movements.
“I’m thoroughly amazed by everything they can do. I think the brown horse is the most impressive today. The jumping is incredible!”
After a few horse and rider combinations, we were astonished by the signature standing, hopping, and leaping of the Lipizzan stallions. The power and grace was electrifying. The white horses crackled like lightning. The brown horse elevated like a hill top. Sometimes the horses were just getting going when the riders would tap a cue to remind them to save themselves from overdoing it. The horses will jump only if they want to jump, and sometimes they want to keep jumping.
I sensed a deep respect between horse and rider. This high level of riding comes from exhaustive years of training that is built on an honest partnership. Sometimes young foals don’t develop into performing mature stallions. Their path is up to them.
After the performance, we visited the horses in the nearby stables. Along the way were a couple souvenir stands. But the best keepsakes were the glimpses of all the horses in their stables decorated with mini holiday stockings. Horsy Santa was also there, and looked happy to be in holiday highlights.
“I’m fascinated by the precise moves and concentration on the faces of the horses and riders. The Holiday Highlight Performance is the highlight of the season!”
We were exhausted but thrilled from the complete absorption of the Holiday Highlight Performance. I pressed on for everyone’s thoughts. Tracy: “When the horses demonstrate the crossover steps, they remind me of figure skaters. We’re so close to the performance that we can see the steam exhaled by the horses!” Larry: “I’m thoroughly amazed by everything they can do. I think the brown horse is the most impressive today. The jumping is incredible!” Lisa: “I’m fascinated by the precise moves and concentration on the faces of the horses and riders. The Holiday Highlight Performance is the highlight of the season!” And me: “The length of the routines is incredible. The horses want to perform, that’s easy to see. The riders’ wands serve as cues or prompts to keep the horses from jumping too much sometimes. They do really like to show off!”
We had no expectations, just curiosity. None of us being horse people, something spoke to us as we smelled the horses enter the arena, heard them exhale steam, and imagined the soft touch of sandy soil pressing their hooves. Nature and people evolved together, and maybe as we domesticated horses over the years, they groomed us a bit.
To learn more and plan your visit to The Tempel Lipizzans, click The Tempel Lipizzans
To experience a dynamic presentation of The Tempel Lipizzans, click on the link to my Adobe Express photoblog at Adobe Express – Tempel Lipizzans
If you are on Facebook, like my page at Facebook – The Simple Luxuries
To see more photos, follow my Instagram feed at Instagram – The Simple Luxuries
“My camera is my witness. My blog is my voice.” ©2022