A quick factoid … this past Thursday was our 1,200th day of RVing … in just shy of 80,000 miles we have traveled to 49 states (no tunnels or bridges available for driving to Hawaii) and 10 of the 14 Canadian provinces/terrirtories. We've been privleged to reconnect with friends and family across North America; visit so many famous and iconic states, provincial and national parks; experience interesting places and sites most people have never heard of; try activities we'd never previously attempted; and meet so many wonderful and remarkable people.
Without question, there is no better or cost-effective way to truly see and experience our country than with and RV!
For the past several weeks, we've enjoyed warm and sunny, but windier than normal, weather. While we both walk "with the ladies" when we've nothng on the morning's docket, Debbie continues her "classical stretch", yoga, water aerobics and various line dancing classes. I have played a great deal of golf, tried lawn bowling, and continue Sunday afternoon radio-controlled sailboat racing.
I have also had opportunites to be the "offical" photographer for a choral group's performance here at Sun N Fun
and to "shoot" a 50th anniversary celebration at Bahia Vista Estates, a community owned by the same company as Sun N Fun and where our best friends, Ken and Cheryl, live during their winter months in Sarasota, at which six coples were recognized.
Unfortunately, Ken broke his arm playing golf last week, requiring surgery and the insertion of a rod in his upper arm. We joined Cheryl during her wait while Ken was in surgery and recovery. When we finally got to see him, Ken looked amazingly good, albeit a bit still out-of it due to the anesthetic which hadn't worn off. The loving wife she is, Cheryl helped him finally get some food
to which one of his good friends remarket, "Milk it for all you can!".
Yesterday, Debbie had lunch with daughter-in-law, Krista's mother, Karen … where she was reminded about the Royal Lipizzan Stallion shows just 15 miles from us. Checking online, we discovered that there was a training session open to the pubic on today.
Founded in the 16th century for the exclusive use of the Hapsburg Royal family of Austria, the Royal Lipizzan's 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 Lipizzan's celebrated escape was recounted in the Walt Disney movie
Assisting Patton in the clandestine mission to rescue the regal Lipizzan's, 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 Herrmann's, 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.
Today his family
(l to r) his daughter (Gabriella), great-grandaughter (Chloe) and granddaughter (Rachelle)
carries on Col. Hermann's tradition.
The show is excellent and the Gabriella's commentary provided context to the history of the ranch and information on the horses they train and, in some cases, rescued.
The show opens with the parade of the colors and crowd singing our National Anthem
Chloe with the Shetland she has been training
These horses use rear kicks in fighting
Shetland rescued from the circus … now 40 years old
Normally, foals are born a dark color which changes over time to the white color typical associated with the breeds
Two year old stallion whose coat will not change to white
Two mares … the one Rachel is riding will not chang her color to white
Once their horses are no longer able to perform, they are able to live a life of equine lunuxry for the rest of their days at the ranch
The Corvette Club of Venice (FL) held a rally at the Lizzipan Ranch this morning.
The cars ranged from some of the earliest models
up through a 2016 version.
We also noticed that the Corvette logo has changed over the years.
Having packed a lunch, we looked for a place to eat after leaving the horse ranch … and found it at the Lakewood Racnh polo fields. Unfortunately, the game was in the final "chucker" and the play at the far end of the field.
We hope to get back another Saturday and watch and try to learn .about the game.