We continue this morning with the second part of our journey to Myakka City to Hermann's Lippinzan Farm. These guys, or at least the European branch, were saved by George Patton's 3rd Army during World War II. The Nazi's were retreating and the Russians were advancing; history tells us they were saved from both the Germans and Soviets.
Operation Cowboy was really more the work of a Colonel reed rather than Patton himself. Although an equestrian and lover of horses, Patton commented in his autobiography, after seeing a Lippinzan show on the day Hitler committed suicide,
"It struck me as rather strange," he wrote, "that, in the midst of a world at war, some 20 young and middle-aged men in great physical condition...had spent their entire time teaching a group of horses to wiggle their butts and raise their feet.... Much as I like horses, this seemed to me wasted energy."
"Still, Patton was a horseman—he had competed, after all, in the 1912 Olympic modern pentathlon—and he did find some merit in the display. "It is probably wrong to permit any highly developed art, no matter how fatuous, to perish from the earth," he wrote. "To me, the high schooling of horses is certainly more interesting than either painting or music."
Since the horses had been at Spanish riding school in Vienna for over 200 years, and there was genuine fear the Russians would kill and eat them, Patton approved Operation Cowboy and saved hundreds of Lippinzaners, which was documented in the Disney film, Miracle of the White Stallions.
Regardless of Old George's personal thoughts about horse butt wiggling, the horses were saved, and the War Horses continue to perform today. These particular Lippinzan's from the Spanish Riding School of Vienna were brought to the US in 1962 by Old Man Hermann and continues to train here by his family.
The above pictures show some of the training and the skill of not only the horses themselves but the trainers. As I write this on Sunday, the farm has closed its training for another winter and are presently in St. Petersburg to put on 2 shows before they head out for a summer of touring, which will take them to the Northeast and a trip overseas. That last picture is a bow to the audience.
I may be able to put together one more post of the trip to see these guys and maybe a video or two with them. Thanks for joining me today.