(© By Kip Mistral. Articles originally published in California Riding Magazine, October 2003 and November 2003, as “Opening to Transformation: Discussions with Dr. Sherry Ackerman, Parts I and II.”)
“I remember one day after several years of study, during which I thought I was progressing quite nicely, my teacher said, ‘Riding dressage is not like playing tennis. You can make your body learn the techniques and make your head learn the movements, but the dressage comes from inside of you. You really need to develop your inner life.’ This was a turning point in my life, a quantum leap in my conscious process. I began to understand that people rode the way they were, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and that was why horses performed differently for different riders. As we open ourselves up to transformation, our riding improves.” (“Dressage in the Fourth Dimension” by Sherry Ackerman, PhD, Second Edition, published by New World Library, Novato, California)
(© 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.
(© By Kip Mistral. First published in Equine Journal July, 2007. Photograph Courtesy of Premier Equestrian.)
“Now…we take up the reins very carefully,” Walter Zettl speaks softly into the microphone. “The mouth is the most sensitive part. Softer…softer.” Here at one of Zettl’s winter clinics in Tucson, Arizona, the rider has been walking her horse on the buckle during one of the frequent breaks for the horse. We are all comrades in escaping the desert sun, and those of us observing have joined Zettl under the canopy where he sits to instruct.
(© 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.