Piaffe


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Temple Lipizzaner

It isn’t just trees, with me. There also lurks in my heart a passion for horses, and I am fortunate enough to live near the Temple Lipizzan farm. As a child living in Brazil I saw these horses perform and it made an indelible impression on me. Many years later, when I was expecting my first child, I learned that they would be performing in Peoria where we lived at the time. My son was born shortly before the performance, so off I went, brand new baby in tow! You can imagine my delight then when I realized their home was very near mine when we moved to northern Illinois. I get to drive by and see the mares in their pasture this time of year, and wait with bated breath for the babies to begin to appear. They are born black, and over time turn classic white.

Here I’ve painted a stallion performing a piaffe~a collected trot in place. I’ve placed him next to the pillar on the one side, and indicated a tree beyond him. In the Spanish School of Riding the horses are taught a series of elegant dressage moves as well as “airs above ground” , moves that served to protect a rider in battle. The pillar represents the years of training a horse and rider undergo to be able to perform at this level. The tree represents nature, for these horses are not forced. The people who own Temple Farms are proud that sometimes their gleaming white horses have grass stains, and the movements are stylized versions of actions the horses do naturally. So a beautiful dancing Lipizzan is a wonderful union of nature and human endeavor.

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22 thoughts on “Piaffe

  1. Jim Ruebush says:

    I watched a Nature program about the care and training of these horses. They get the royal treatment. We should all be so lucky. πŸ™‚

  2. Oh Melissa, thi is beautiful, the perfect image of horse and amazon, so elegant and full of character! Xo Johanna

  3. Gunta says:

    Marvelous!!! I’m with you in admiring these beauties, though I’ve never had the close encounters you’ve been blessed with. Your depiction of the horse is really great. From what I’ve seen attempted by others, horses are very difficult to get right! Great to see your reach expanding.

  4. Thank you Gunta! Aren’t they fun to watch? sigh πŸ™‚

  5. That’s so funny that should post your painting of the Dressage rider and beautiful Lipizzan today. #1 Grandson asked for his barn and horses today to play with. He has one Dressage rider with a Friesian. He doesn’t have a Lipizzan horse in his collection. I bet he’d like one.

    They’re gorgeous! Your painting is just lovely.

    • Oh that is fun. I was never without my horses when I was a child and even today I keep one on my dresser! πŸ™‚ Maybe one day the Lipizzans will perform near you and the two of you can go. He’ll love it!

  6. Kim says:

    Your rendition is wonderful. I’ve always wanted to see a performance in person. They were here in our town a few years ago, but the timing didn’t work for me to get there. Someday. Thanks for sharing. kim

    • I hope you get a chance to, Kim. It is a very moving performance. I’ve heard experts insist that the horses are just doing what they are told, and not responding to the music, but I don’t believe that for a moment. They are truly dancing!

  7. shoreacres says:

    I have acquaintances in Montana who have Friesians. She’s participated in dressage for years, and travels the West with her horse. She says she does it less for the competition than for the pure joy of riding, and it surely must be a joy for all these riders.

    I was surprised to read that the horses are born black, and then become white. It reminded me of the little blue heron, which starts out white, and then becomes that characteristic slate-like blue.

    • Oh, Friesians are gorgeous horses. I’ve often thought I’d like to have one and do dressage, just for the joy of it like your friend.
      It is interesting, isn’t it, the changeling nature of things?

  8. I’ll bet you’ve fantasized going back in a time machine and seeing the prehistoric little horses that once roamed North America.

  9. One in particular provided me a seat booster at the table.

  10. Car, says:

    It is a lovely painting… I visited that place in Viena in 2008, it was so cool to be there! nice art work. Im also learning to paint, im practicing at home with water colours.. i will show in my blog some of my work.. it would be great to see you there… ciao!

    • Thank you Car. Wow~ you saw them in Viena? That must have been amazing. Good for you learning to paint. I’ll stop by πŸ™‚

      • Car, says:

        I was doing an exchange year on 2008 in Austria, for a year..with the Rotary Club. We were many young people from all over the world in all the country, so they took us several times to see Viena, one of them they took us there to see the horses..amazing!!! I do love horses too!! πŸ™‚ and I think your painting are so cute.. they have that something special… you know..that feeling,, that taste! Im also painting some watercolor..I will show that in my next posts. πŸ™‚ have a great day and keep painting and sharing cute!

  11. Your title makes me think of the French singer Γ‰dith Piaf:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89dith_Piaf

  12. I’ve not been a “horse person” at any time, but I do admire their beauty. Horse and rider do seem quite in sync with each other when they are well-trained and I think these horses live a very good life.

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