“Ode to the Horse” by Ronald Duncan

“Ode to the Horse” by Ronald Duncan

(Poem @ Ronald Duncan Estate. Painting “The Horse Fair” by Rosa Bonheur 1883-1885)

The Horse

Where in this wide world can
man find nobility without pride,
friendship without envy or beauty
without vanity? Here, where
grace is laced with muscle, and
strength by gentleness confined.

View Post

“The Blood is Made Pure”: Disbrow & Co’s Boston Riding School Circa 1852 and the Health-Giving Properties of the Arts of Equitation

“The Blood is Made Pure”: Disbrow & Co’s Boston Riding School Circa 1852 and the Health-Giving Properties of the Arts of Equitation

(© 1852 Gleason’s Pictorial Drawing Room Companion. Wood engraving image caption: “Interior View of Disbrow & Cos Riding School, 415 Washington Street, Boston”; Image credit is due Mark Renger at Sewickley Gallery at www.sewickleygallery.com, for the beautiful hand-colored version of this originally black/white publication.)

“Herewith we present a correct representation of the new, large, central and commodious Riding School of D. R. Disbrow & Co, one of the most ably conducted and popular equestrian academies in the United States, and excelled by none, either in reputation, elegant accommodations, or the skill and system by which the art of horsemanship is taught.” View Post

Book Review: Friedrich Wilhelm Baron Reis von Eisenberg and “The Art of Riding a Horse”

Book Review: Friedrich Wilhelm Baron Reis von Eisenberg and “The Art of Riding a Horse”

(© Kip Mistral 2017. First published in the United States Lipizzan Federation quarterly NEWS publication for Winter 2018. Feature image is Painting #26: Gallop leading with near fore, from “The Classical Riding Master”. Subsequent illustration credits inline.)

The great horsemen of the European baroque and romantic eras were undeniably aristocrats. After all, making a great horseman and a great horse—in those days—was expected to take a lifetime in the first case, and many years in the second case. Only aristocrats and nobility had the time and the money to acquire fine horses and undertake the deep study that in these times made becoming a graceful, elegant rider an important character-building experience. The German-born Friedrich Wilhelm Baron Reis von Eisenberg (1685-1764)1 was such a lucky one.

View Post

Now for Your Cherishings – Gervase Markham 1676

Now for Your Cherishings – Gervase Markham 1676

(Peter Paul Rubens – Detail from Equestrian Portrait of the Duke of Lerma – The Collection – Museo Nacional del Prado)

“Now for your Cherishings, they are those which I formerly spake of;

Only they must be used at no time but when your Horse doth well,

View Post

Washington Square Park NYC in the Winter 1897 – Fernand Harvey Lungren

Washington Square Park NYC in the Winter 1897 – Fernand Harvey Lungren

If you read about Washington Square Park in New York City today, you certainly won’t see images like this which was painted in 1897. Still the days of horse-drawn conveyances, we see dusk settling in on a day that has seen fresh snowfall. The Washington Square Arch looms in the background. The streets and the park are still clean and white and fresh, and people are busy setting out for their evening excursion. I imagine it is a Saturday night…the gentlemen are in top hats and the ladies dressed in refinement. Is that group of three young women giggling as they pass the carriage? The horse is certainly watching something. The couple with their backs to us are waiting for their cab. The scene looks cold but strangely cozy. What do you see?