REPORT ON JANUARY 2013 NATURE CLUB OUTING
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Dear Nature Club Friends,
On January 10, 2013 our 38 Nature Club friends all met in Gecko's Grill and Bar in Sarasota. We enjoyed great food and camaraderie during our lunch. After our lunch we proceeded to the Herrmanns' Ranch in Myakka. A few of us had some problems finding the ranch, but everyone eventually arrived safely.
At the ranch we had some time to visit the stables and feed carrots to the Lipizzaner horses.
There was a lot of information and photos about the history of the ranch and Colonel Herrmann, who saved about 300 Lipizzaner horses at the request of General Patton, at the end of World War II, who then took these beautiful horses from the meadows of Czechoslovakia to Vienna, their original home.
The show was fantastic! These beautiful and gracious horses performed great dressage, plus dramatic and difficult "Airs Above the Ground" jumps. These types of leaps are only performed by Lipizzaner stallions of great strength.
The entire show was presented and moderated by Gaby Herrmann and her daughters and relatives.
A Bit of History:
"Founded in the 16th century for the exclusive use of the Hapsburg Royal family of Austria, the Royal Lipizzans are unquestionably the rarest, most aristocratic breed of horses in the world. The pride of the Hapsburg Empire, the Lipizzan breed was first established by Archduke Charles at Lipizza (now part of Yugoslavia).
Only a few hundred have ever existed at any one time. Indeed, it is a contemporary miracle of sorts that this precious bloodline is not extinct, having barely been saved from the advancing Russian forces during World War II.
The Lipizzans' celebrated escape was recounted in the Walt Disney movie, "Miracle of the White Stallions". Assisting Patton in the clandestine mission to rescue the regal Lipizzans, Colonel Herrmann and his father, Colonel Ottomar Herrmann, Sr., smuggled the horses out from far behind enemy lines, riding at night and hiding by day. "We moved out into the night with nothing," recalled Herrmann, "only a handful of horses."
The Lipizzans they saved under the protection granted by Patton, were "more precious than jewels," he declared. Colonel Herrmann, joined by two subsequent generations of Herrmanns, created an American renaissance of classical equitation's. His family maintains a 200 acre ranch in Florida to ensure the propagation of this extraordinary breed."
We had a great time with beautiful weather. Again a very successful Nature Club outing.