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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Walter Zettl: Up In Heaven…The Language of Harmony

(© 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.

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Michel Henriquet: For  the Pleasure and the Beauty

(© By Kip Mistral. First printed in Equine Journal May 2007. Photographs by Frédéric Chéhu unless otherwise noted.)

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.

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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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Photographer Andi Harmon: The Way of the Buckaroo

(© By Andi Harmon 2017)

Ever since I could hold a camera, I’ve taken photos.

Ever since I knew what it was like to smell the sweet sweat of a horse, feel its breath tickle my face, giggle at the soft velvety feel of a horse’s lips as they search for a treat, I’ve felt a deep love for horses.

It seemed a natural progression to combine the things I love into something tangible. My goal in life is to be a photo journalist, or photo documentarian of a vanishing way of life in the Great Basin – the way of the buckaroo.

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