Beautiful Kranich: Count Anton Günther’s Favorite Oldenburg

Beautiful Kranich: Count Anton Günther’s Favorite Oldenburg

(© By Kip Mistral. First Published in Horse Connection, July 2006.)

The driving force for a writer is curiosity. One minute we’re minding our own business, and the next we’re experiencing something like whiplash when our attention is suddenly diverted by something fascinating and mysterious. And then we can’t rest until we explore it, wherever it leads…

I had inspected the wonders of Rosenberg Castle in Copenhagen this summer when that thing happened in the gift shop. I discovered a card reproducing an ancient, crackled painting of an elegantly stylized white horse with a heavy, wavy mane and tail that dragged the ground. “Spanish horse,” I proclaimed to myself, knowingly.

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Henna For Horses: Ancient Decorative and Medicinal Traditions

Henna For Horses: Ancient Decorative and Medicinal Traditions

(© 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.

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