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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).

 

 

 

Leonhardifahrt – The Blessing of the Horse

The grinding sound of wagon wheels, bells and low whispered prayers while steam rises in the morning light from the backs of beautifully liveried horses…that for me is Leonhardifahrt in Schliersee.

On a crisp autumn morning in November, the wooden carriages begin their procession to the St. Leonhard Chapel in Fischhausen.  Each hand painted historic wagon, decorated in the old way with straw, flowers and religious themes is filled with gloriously dressed men and women.

This colorful procession is to honor the work horse and livestock.  I know your thinking another event to celebrate the cows?  But of course. Why not.  They certainly deserve it.   This centuries old farming tradition gives thanks to the patron saint of livestock,  St. Leonhard, with a blessing by the church.

When I first moved Schliersee this was the one event of the year everyone was talking about.  You can imagine my excitement when I started to see these ancient wagons being rolled out of barns all over the area and the decorating beginning.  I felt like a kid on Christmas morning and this event did not disappoint.  From the incredibly detailed local costumes to the polished to perfection, colorful livery and the endless stream of proud and prancing horses.  This is one event you can’t miss.

After all the carriages arrive and are lined up to make their passage past the ceremonially dressed priests and receive their blessing everyone parks their wagons in the field behind the chapel.  This is a great opportunity to get a close look at all the beautiful details that goes into each carriage.  There is a small church service held outside with the beautiful backdrop of our local mountains.  Some folks gather in the small baroque chapel, another site not to be missed, and say their prayers in the smokey Frankincense scented interior.

For my friends and family, we like to head over to the Wasmeier museum for a beer and a meal afterwards.

The event begins at 9 am on 6 November 2016 at the Leonhardi Chapel in Fischhausen.  This chapel is located on B307 just passed the lake in Schliersee and before you reach the train station in Neuhaus.  This road will be blocked on the day so arriving early or taking the BOB train is recommended.

If you would like more information about Leonhardifahrt, please click the link provided: http://www.schliersee.de/sommer/kultur-lebensart/tradition/#c1471

 

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).