(© By Kip Mistral. First printed in Equine Journal May 2007. Photographs by Frédéric Chéhu unless otherwise noted. Feature photo credit unknown.)
It is a beautiful fall morning at Le Fief de la Panetière, the 16th century estate and equestrian facility near Versailles that Michel Henriquet shares with his wife, Catherine Durand Henriquet. My Dutch friend, Ellen Schuthof, and I are spending a couple of days watching lessons given by Michel and Catherine in both the lovely outdoor court and the indoor manège. This is my second visit to the Henriquets and as in the year before, I am struck by the collection, balance and suppleness of the horses trained by Michel and Catherine.
(© By Kip Mistral 2017)
Long ago and far away, in the area historically known as “The Levant” (portions of the Eastern Mediterranean coast including Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Libya), lands of strong sunlight, the henna plant flourished. (And still does.) The cultures of The Levant used henna for decoration of humans and animals (horses and other equids, cows, etc) at times of celebration, marriage, celebration of their deities, and to indicate high status in general, and also for medicinal purposes.
(© By Tye MacDonald 2017.)
I don’t remember the first time I saw a horse. It was probably before I could talk, as their look, smell, and feel has always been familiar. I remember watching horses running in a pasture as a little boy and feeling something hard to put into words. I wanted something with a horse, perhaps to be a horse, or to be part of a horse. I would guess many of us as children first see a horse, watch it running, recognize its beauty and feel its excitement. As children, our hearts and our imaginations are still wide open and so we are left with an inexpressible want. Not a desire to go fast or to dominate, rather it is as if we see the face of God in a running horse and feel something almost like a longing for home.
(© By Kip Mistral. First published in Equine Journal, October 2005. Feature photo credit Frédéric Chehu.)
“It is disappearing,” Michel Henriquet says quietly, looking across his dining table with a level expression that hints of sadness. It is the end of a day of talk about the rich history of “high” equitation in Europe. Pale mid-afternoon light filters through the ancient windows of Fief de la Panetière, the venerable 16th century house that he shares with his wife, Olympic and international Grand Prix champion Catherine Durand. The company has lingered long over the end of a superb luncheon while Henriquet speaks of the future of equestrian art.