Beiträge

Rein it in…It’s the Month of the Horse

November in Schliersee is really the month of the horse. I thought since we just had Leonhardiritt, the religious procession celebrating the blessing of the horses, we should take some time to discover some interesting information about a couple of the amazing breeds we have here in Schliersee.

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting a breeding farm in Austria on the day that the magnificent Haflinger stallions returned from their summer in the high pastures. This breed is truly spectacular. Bred not to far away in the southern Tirol part of Austria, the Haflinger is a warmblood horse known for being efficient, sound, strong, sturdy, and willing. A multi-talented horse, it is commonly used today in dressage, endurance riding, general riding, jumping, mounted athletics, racing, and obviously pulling carriages for historical processions like Leonhardifahrt.

For me, the Haflinger’s coloring is what makes them truly stand out. They are reminiscent of a doe with pale chestnut colored bodies and bright golden manes. I find them to have such great spirited characters. Though they are on the small size they are a horse and not a pony. While at the breeding farm I learned some very interesting tidbits of information. This Tyrollean breed has Arabian blood in them and it is believed that they are all related to one Arab-pony cross named Folie. That mix of blood gives many of these horses a very Arabian style head. They seem to love showing off and being the center of attention.

And on the complete opposite side of the horse characteristic scale, you will find many Kaltblut or Coldblooded horses here in Schliersee. Cold-blooded horses encompass the draft breeds such as Percherons, Shires, Clydesdales, and Belgians. Large-boned and heavy-bodied, these horses were developed to use in draft and agricultural work, and were selected for a calm temperament.

One of my favorite things to see in the early mornings just behind our beloved Leonhardi chapel is when Langerbauer farm lets their horses out of their stalls. The horses seem to store up energy in their powerful legs during the night and just can’t wait to release it exuberantly.  Dashing elegantly across the wide pasture one by one. Sharing in their joy and beauty if only as a witness is an incredibly way to start your day.

 

 

To see these horses for yourself and even take a ride, make sure to visit some of our beautiful local farms. Many of these farms rent lovely rooms where you can experience life on a Bavarian horse farm. They are also just a stones throw from our alpine lake.

 

 

http://www.asenbauer-hof.de

http://www.bayregio.de/gastgeber/Rixnerhof

http://www.langerbauer.de/langerbauer/index.htm

http://www.kirchbergerhof.info/frame-index.htm

http://anderlbauer.schliersee.de/unser_hof/unser_hof.php

gaestehaus-sonnenstatter.de/landwirtschaft/betriebsbeschreibung/

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).

 

 

 

Schliersee…So Much More Than Cows

After several years of obsessively photographing the various local Almabtriebs, this year I was sent a very kind invitation to come and experience another lovely local farming event. The Schafprämierung, in english we would call it a sheep “Best in Show” which, also included goats. This event is held each year in Tegernsee at Kohlhauf-Hof.

Sadly, after many years of great weather, this year the event received a complete soaking due to the remnants of hurricane Maria. Though the weather dampened everything, animal and people alike, it didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the farmers and young breeders.

Despite the weather, the atmosphere was a festive one. Of course there was a small local traditional band playing and the air was fragrant with hot homemade stews, sausages and lamb steaks. Never to be forgotten at any German gathering, an entire table of delicious homemade cakes. Local vendors set up booths and sold various hand made products like  cattle bells and sheep’s wool items.  An amazing weaver from Miesbach brought her traditional Bavarian style loom carpets while women carded and spun wool. For the children a class was offered on felting wool and they really enjoyed.

Representing Schliersee was Franz Leitner (junior). His families beautiful farm, Kirchbergerhof is located in the  Fischhausen part of Schliersee. Franz was showing his magnificent Alpine Steinschaff. Through this event I learned In 2009 the Alpines Steinschaf was named “endangered livestock breed of the year” so its cultivation and care are very important to the breeds survival. It was great to be there in support of a fellow Schlierseer.

What stole my heart were the happy faces of the young breeders, Jungzuchter, who were showing their sheep for the first time. Watching the connection of these young children and their much loved and trusting sheep was precious. The joy of the parents and grandparents who could share their passion for animal husbandry was written all over their faces. These traditions of local farming if not taught and shared might one day might sadly die out. Sharing and teaching them to the younger generations helps to keep the traditions alive. Their joy just fills you with pride for this beautiful alpine land and its people.

I am sure there were technical aspects of a Schafprämierung which were very important for the health of these local breeds but for me it was the joy of community that I most took away from the day. The excitement of seeing the results of the years hard work, breeding and caring for these sweet faced creatures. The sheep were definitely the stars and their personalities shined through. Many of the sheep tried nibbling on the serious judges aprons causing them to break from their important stoic roles into warm laughter.

 

 

The judges took great care to check each animal thoroughly for particular signs of good breeding. The health and care given to every animal was judged accordingly to a strict standard.

 

Unfortunately, although I was properly attired for the weather, myself and my camera encased in gore-tex for protection I ended up getting soaked to the skin which sadly brought and end to my visit.

 

 

For more information on Schafprämierung and events:
http://www.alpinetgheep.com/news-bayern.html

To learn how you can stay at the beautiful Kirchbergerhof farm:

http://www.kirchbergerhof.info/frame-index.html

 

 

Laura Boston-Thek Laura Boston-Thek

American artist, photographer and professional wanderer who, after 20 years of roaming, put down roots in a 100 year old Bavarian farmhouse and fell in love with the Alpine village and its residents (both 2-legged and 4-legged).