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Childhood Dreams: Seeing the Lipizzaner Stallions Perform in Essex, MA

Not too long ago I was a freak about horses. Before the internet went viral, I clipped photos of the Kentucky Derby out of the newspaper and snipped apart horse-themed magazines I had saved all my allowance to buy. One of my fondest memories was the Lipizzaner Stallions – a pale gray and white horse breed hailing from Austria used in the military for centuries. They are based in the elegant and breathtaking Spanish Riding School while they train for special dressage moves, like moving in rhythm to music, jumping straight in the air and bowing for the crowd. Think of it as a super classy rodeo.

Lipizzaner Stallions - Crooked Flight

I had no idea there was a state-side troupe that travels in the U.S., highlighting the same spirit of those in Europe. My good sport of a boyfriend and I hiked up the North Shore early in the Sunday and grabbed a spot in the field by Historic New England’s Cogswell Grant, a charming farmhouse from the 1700s that hosts events year-round. We packed a picnic lunch of fancy charcuterie and cheese plus a couple of cava splits to indulge on the gorgeous, sunny day without a cloud in the sky. The all-female riders demonstrated some incredible skills on horseback and as trainers – forming tight lines, having their horses prance in time to the music and perform war kicks. The women also adorned traditional Austrian garb, from flowing skirts and bodices to straight up war uniforms with big, gaudy hats. It might have been a little cheesy, but the audience and I ate it up – just seeing the sheer skill presented with such a legendary breed of animal was well worth the trip.

Lipizzaner Stallions - Crooked Flight

 

Lipizzaner Stallions - Crooked Flight

 

Lipizzaner Stallions - Crooked Flight

A bonus? They keep the horses in outside paddocks so you can pet them! I tried not to push the little children out of the way too much. Unfortunately I didn’t have any food so most of the horses could care less I was standing there, but it was still a thrill to see them close up.

Lipizzaner Stallions - Crooked Flight

 

Lipizzaner Stallions - Crooked Flight

The group seems to gravitate toward East Coast tours, so bookmark their summer schedule this year and for 2014. I’m pretty nuts now about these North Shore excursions and hope I can squeeze in a few more before the snow.

North Shore Couple - Crooked Flight

EileenCotterWright

Author EileenCotterWright

Eileen Cotter Wright is a Boston, MA expat living in London, UK. She is a freelance writer and owner of group travel site PureWander.com. Despite losing her passport the first day she left her home country, she's continued to roam the earth with gusto for about a decade. You can keep up with her hot mess adventures on Twitter @Crooked_Flight.

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Join the discussion 2 Comments

  • Those horses are gorgeous and it’s amazing what they can do! They recently had a horse parade here in Ecuador where some of the horses did similar things – bowing, walking on hind legs, a little dressage, but I would love to see professionally trained horses like these!

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  • VeeraBianca says:

    Amazing! Been reading your blog for a long time but finally have a travel blog in English myself 🙂

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