It's been a rough couple of weeks for the Republic, and I suspect that all American patriots are feeling a bit exhausted and discouraged. Take a break. Sit back and watch the video below of the greatest horses in the world. This is the actual Reitschule in Vienna. Some of us have seen the American Lipizzaners perform under the trade name of "The World Famous Lipizzaner Stallions," and I have nothing to say against them, but there's nothing like video of the Austrian performance.
My love for the Lipizzaners was kindled originally when I was about seven by this wonderful book by justly famed horse author Marguerite Henry. Alois Podhajsky, a character in the book, was a real person who saved the Lipizzaners through and after World War II. If you think of buying the book for your children, be sure to buy the old hardcover with several paintings scattered throughout. I saw a paperback a few years ago that took those few gorgeous color paintings by Wesley Dennis and turned them into black and white, presumably to save money. (Harrumph.) The book also has many wonderful drawings. A copy would be especially prized if it had the color endpapers showing a painting of the quadrille. The copy I own now has blank endpapers, though I had somehow as a child a copy with the picture endpapers.
My own all-too-short season of riding lessons is wrapping up as we move toward the cold and driver-unfriendly Michigan winter. It looks as though I will be able to start back up in the spring, five months or so from now, at which point I will doubtless be woefully out of shape and will have to learn a lot of things over again. As the rawest of beginners, I look at the things they are doing in this video as if they were magic. One notices odd things when one has even a tiny bit of experience: If my horse ever went that close to a wall, I'd be shying myself, afraid of getting a leg crushed. I cannot imagine how they work so many stallions that close together. It's astounding. Most people are most impressed by the Airs Above the Ground. Not to say anything against the Airs Above the Ground, but I think the quadrille is the most impressive part of the show.
The Lipizzan stallions of Vienna.