January 05, 2008

On the twelfth day of Christmas

my true love gave to me,

twelve lords a-leaping.

At first I considered the Lords of the Dance.

Like the Nicholas Brothers,

Or Russ Tamblyn in "West Side Story".

Leapin' lizards.

Or Baryshnikov.

Who is so good he gets two pictures.

Lordy lordy.

But then I thought of my darling children and their shining faces on the twelfth day of Christmas, and knew it had to be marvelous, incredible leaping Lipizzaners

"Cerbero"; oil on copper, c1725, by Johann Georg von Hamilton
Cerbero was a Neapolitan brown piebald, one of Emperor Charles VI's favorite riding horses. From the collection of the Lipizzaner Museum.

"Scarramuie"; oil on copper, c1725, by Johann Georg von Hamilton
Scarramuie was a dapple-grey of the Neapolitan school, and here performs a piaffe (a trot in place) in the hands of a stable boy. From the same collection.

"Courbette"; watercolor, 1923, by Ludwig Koch, from the same collection

For more about Lipizzaner horses, Laura recommends:

White Stallion of Lipizza by Marguerite Henry; available new from from Sonlight

Album of Horses, also by Marguerite Henry

The 1963 movie "Miracle of the White Stallions"

and for your own wee riding school, Schleich's Lipizzan horse family

And to all a goodnight.

With that, folks, Christmas is officially over at Farm School as of tomorrow and if I have the energy -- after the 12 days of Christmas, this recent blogging spurt, and the Cybils (short list to be announced Sunday, which I'll post here after swilling my coffee) -- the tree will be "planted" in a snowbank outside and the decorations returned to their boxes.

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