This Blog is dedicated to the Noble and Great horses in our lives and throughout history. Visit the land of the unicorns in Behind The Mist, the horse lover's fantasy for pre-teens to adults.

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I have a dream that someday...someday... I will be able to ride like the riders of the Spanish Riding School. That "someday" may not be until I'm in heaven but at least I have something to look forward to.

Today's blog is dedicated to the riders and stallions of the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

In the third and final book of the Mist Trilogy, "The Rising Mist," (Not yet released) the Legion of the Unicorn is sent to earth to rescue ten of the Lipizzaner Stallions that are kidnapped from their stable in Vienna. I have always been fascinated by these stallions and went to visit their home when I was in Vienna.

Their story is a fascinating one and was captured in the Disney Movie,"The Miracle of the White Stallions." It truly was a miracle that they survived World War II (have I told you that I hate war?) Note: it wasn't just World War II that threatened them. For several hundred years they have had to be protected from man's wars by men themselves.

The story of the resue during World War II is an interesting one and actually took part in two places. During WW II, the high command of Nazi Germany, to which the citizens of Austria had voted overwhelmingly to support before the outbreak of the war, sent the Lipizzan breeding stock to Czechoslovaki including the breeding stock for the SRS that were stabled in Piber. This occured in 1942.

The Stallions in Vienna were moved to St. Martins in January of 1945 as bombing raids drew nearer to the city. At this time, the horses in Hostau Czechoslovakia were threatened by the advancing Soviet Army who might have slaughtered them to feed their hungry troops. In the spring of 1945, the head of the Spanish Riding School, Colonel Alois Podhajsky (definately a future unicorn rider) arranged to put on a performance for General George S. Patton. Both men were Olympic riders by the way. At the end of the performance, Podhajsky asked Patton to take the horses under his protection which Patton, to his immense credit, did.

Meanwhile, a U.S. Army Tank unit under the command of Colonel Charles Reed directed "Operation Cowboy" which saved the breeding stock in Czechoslovakia. They rode, herded and trucked 1,200 horses, including 375 Lipizzans, 35 miles across the border into Kotztinz, Germany where they would be safe.

If you want to learn more about the Lipizzan's of the Spanish Riding School, both the history and their training techniques, watch these two videos. They are beautifully done and you will learn a lot!

Take a break from training your own horse to read "Behind the Mist," The horse and Unicorn Lover's fantasy.

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

FURY - Famous horse of TV and Movies

If you are my age, you must remember the Saturday Morning T.V. Series "Fury." If so, this will look very familiar to you! It ran from 1955 to 1960 on NBC. I watched it every Saturday morning until the last year when I started taking riding lessons on Saturday mornings. Like any young, horse-loving girl...I LOVED Fury. He was beautiful and brave and loyal to his beloved "Joey."

So, I looked up some information about Fury. Most of the information comes from the website:

Fury was discovered on a Missour farm by the famous trainer of animals for movies and television named Ralph McCutcheon. Mr. McCutcheon immediatly recognized the star potential in the 18 month old colt. He purchased the colt and moved him to his five acre ranch in Van Nuys, California.

The T.V. Series "Fury" stared Peter Graves as "Jim," Bobby Diamond as his son "Joey," and William Fawcett as "Pete." Reruns were carried on NBC from 1960 to 1966 under the title "Brave Stallion." "Brave Stallion" also ran internationally. The stories were based upon the Books by Albert G. Miller. Maybe, someday there will be a television series about the Legion of the Unicorn based upon the Mist Trilogy books!!!

Fury was only 26 months old when he starred in one of the many "Black Beauty" Films. He also starred in "Gypsy Colt," for which he had to do lots of tricks. Then in "Giant" with co-star Elizabeth Taylor. The young Elizabeth Taylor was in lots of horse movies. I wonder if she loved horses???

Fury's name changed frequently depending upon the current role he was playing: HIghland Dale to Beauty to Gypsy to Fury.

The beautiful black horse loved to be bathed and curried, especially on hot California days. His favorite trick was to roll in the sandy dirt between scenes, forcing his grooms to bathe and curry him. He suffered from Heaves (Like Asthma in people) so he had to have all the dust washed out of his hay.

Fury won three Patsy awards which are the animal equivalent of Oscars.

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