A quick trip on Fruitville Road heading east will lead you to Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions in Myakka City. Many people do not realize that these stately and grand horses date back to the 16th century and are considered to be the most aristocratic breeds in the whole world. For a small donation of $5, a visit to see the Royal Lipizzan Stallions is in order.
With only a few hundred of these horses in existence at one time, it is a rarity that we are fortunate to have them nearby. The story of how they found their way here is an interesting one and involves two local men, Colonel Herrmann and his father, Colonel Ottomar Herrmann. During World War II, General George Patton was assisted by the Herrmann men in rescuing and relocating the Royal Lipizzan Stallions from Russian advances. Using the cover of darkness, the Herrmanns were able to smuggle the horses from behind enemy lines, eventually transporting them to their family ranch in Myakka City, Florida. Those heroic deeds helped to ensure their bloodline still exists today. The Disney movie, “Miracle of the White Stallions” portrays the story and adds to the novelty of visiting Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions.
One look at these mighty stallions with their regal stature and you know you are in the presence of a truly magnificent animal. “All Airs Above The Ground,” a series of high level maneuvers on which the Royal Lippizan Stallions base their performances is an amazing sight to behold. Not typically seen in traditional competitive dressage, the moves include the capriole, the mezair, the croupade, and the levade. It is believed that originally the Royal Lipizzan Stallions were taught the maneuvers to be bolder in battle, but some believe the moves were a means to solidify the relationship between the rider and the horse.
Today the Royal Lipizzan Stallions can be seen performing throughout the country and, fortunately, locals can attend their winter training sessions in Myakka City through April. Shows run every Thursday and Friday at 3:00 P.M. and on Saturdays at 10:00 A.M. Bring your binoculars, water, and grab a spot in their bleachers for a unique and heart-pounding performance of Herrmann’s Lippizan Stallions. Throughout the performance, their history, lineage, and amazing capability will be presented to the audience in a way that will convey the importance of these fantastic regal giants. And if you’re so inclined, clinics, riding lessons, private parties and weddings can also be conducted alongside the Royal Lippizan Stallions.
If you haven’t made the short trip out to Myakka City to see Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions, make sure you do. It’s an amazing afternoon of fantastic feats, grand horses unlike any others in the world, and a great way to introduce family and friends to yet another delightful activity to do in our area. For more information, please visit their website at http://hlipizzans.com/.
Photos: Royal Lipizzan-Young Stallion by Roger W on Flickr, commercial use allowed
Royal Lipizzan-Horse Kicking Backward by Roger W on Flickr, commercial use allowed