Shad Meets the lippizaners

I like horses and I know they like me because I was once kissed by a horse on a fence.  I was on the fence, not the horse, and it was moist and bristly but nonetheless enjoyable.  The beautiful  white lippizan horses you see in these pictures live at the Stanglwirt Riding School in Kitzbuhel, Austria and they did not seem like the type of horse to go around kissing unknown cats on fences.  As John and I arrived by car to the Riding School as part of our Austria weekend, the lippizan horses pranced and skipped in perfect motion from their warm dry stables out on to the snow covered field before them.  I watched their tails swish charmingly from side to side and their manes flow almost magically as they broke into a canter in front of us.

I decided there and then that they weren’t the only ones who could waltz around looking all willowy and elegant.  So when John opened the car door I lifted my nose high into the air and puffed out my chest just as one of the horses looked towards me.  Perfect timing!  With one nimble action I leapt from the seat but unfortunately landed awkwardly on a patch of ice resulting in a minor skid and slight stumble.  Thankfully I recovered my poise quickly at which point I swiftly turned around to hop straight back in the car.  Boy that snow was cold and my knees were wet where I’d hit the deck!

After a marathon licking session my fur was back in place and I was a snug as a bug in a rug, having wrapped myself up in my favourite blanket on the back seat.  I looked through the window and couldn’t help feel a sense of admiration at the stunning lippizaners so impressive with their smooth tresses of hair and muscular frames.   This noble breed is renowned for graceful movements and magnificent physiques, as well as liveliness and good natures.  They are born dark brown, black or grey until the white coat appears between the ages of 6 and 10.  Apparently there are less than 3000 in the whole world so they are highly prized in equine circles.  The horses at the Stanglwirt Riding School were clearly cherished by the humans who cared for them and I could tell by their well-groomed coats, clean hooves and happy temperaments that all their needs were met.  After performing some of their stylish dressage moves, they played in the snow, flicking it around with their powerful legs and chasing after each other.   They reminded me of the lambs I’ve seen frolicking around in the fields at home and I smiled to myself as it occurred to me that I’m not the only dignified animal who likes to fool around for amusement.  I miss teddy!

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