I choose horses not with my mind but with my heart and soul. If I chose a horse for myself according to my knowledge, I would still be without a horse, because I would hardly have found a horse that I would consider as an ideal one.
There’s no horse without defects and I cannot understand how one can buy a horse like a car, appreciating objectively its highs and lows. I choose that one which I “fall in love with”, which is sent to me by fate and without which I could hardly live.
For the first time I saw my darling Lipisina in a village called Lezie not far from Kirovsk, by accident, at the time when total famine has already struck that area.
We went there to have a look on some horses from Germany. Moving along a narrow corridor of the former pioneer camp canteen I noticed nothing more but a pair of wide-open eyes looking at me through a tiny barred window. They looked at me somehow sadly and attentively and then vanished in darkness. My heart began throbbing, and a thought came suddenly to my head: “And what if they refuse to sell it? It can’t be! Because this is the horse. That horse of mine”. But I managed to control myself and patiently waited with a sinking heart for that horse to be taken out. However they would not show it, obviously believing that it’s not the one we’re looking for. And featureless “Germans” passed by us for a long time.
An hour later we finally saw her, skinny and ugly with a terrible scar on her left hind foot: being a foal she fell in through floor planks rotten from urine and no one knows for how many hours has she been standing like that. She jogged slowly with a girl on her back in the other corner of the paddock not to bother us while we were looking at the “Germans”. Any good performance was out of the question. She hardly dragged her small underdeveloped hooves on deep pits and bumps of that dusty paddock.
My heart began to beat even faster, I was looking only at her, and in a minute I decided to tell my husband that I want that horse and that we take her right now, without even veterinary examination. If it’s ill we’ll treat her. My husband was shocked by my choice, but he put absolute trust to my intuition.
In six months Lipisina could already perform Paso Espanol in a perfect way. She turned to be extremely talented and due to a correct fitness program, good care and our love she became a regular beauty. She obtained better performance, as any other healthy and happy horse.
Was she a lucky one? Undoubtedly, yes. I saw several brothers and sisters of my dear Lipisina. They are as much talented as she is, and have the same good genes as she has, however they’re in awful condition for various reasons. Any of them could become a happy horse, but, unfortunately they were not fated to this and so their poor performance will probably never improve.
At present Lipisina performs easily almost all the elements of Haute Ecole. I say ‘almost’ because she cannot do all of them at her age. We should not teach her some elements now, we wait for her maturity, and that will come at the age of ten-thirteen years. Thus we avoid injury to joints.
Lipisina has many abilities and I have to stop her and myself when she tries to do some elements that are not for her age.
Her movements fascinate and astonish those who see her in the manege. She is an extraordinarily strong, flexible and spirited horse.
Her Paso Espanol is unbelievably graceful, she is one of those horses that perform it in the best way in the world, many riders admit this. Her courbettes and caprioles are threateningly powerful, her passage is so airy, and her extended trot takes your breath away.
She can do everything, she knows and likes to demonstrate to our guests a huge number of things like pirouettes on the crossed legs or on three legs, bows, crunches, piaffe etc.
And the most important thing of all is that she performs this in perfect collection and, of course, without any bridle or halter. And moreover she learnt everything she knows at liberty. I never used any instruments such as bits, for example.
She perfectly understands that collection is necessary. Her intellectual faculties are admirable. She understood this before all other horses did and taught me how to explain this to other horses without a bridle. Isn’t it wonderful?
Now it’s my husband who teaches her the science of Haute Ecole. Why? Because I can’t teach her a hundredth part of what he can. And because training without punishment implies horse’s great respect for its teacher. Alas, Lipisina looks upon me only as her friend, and not as a teacher. But anyway I work with her on the ground and improve the performance of all the elements before asking to do them on horseback (2006).
Here’re some photos of her mother Chimera. She is fifteen years old at this photo and looks like this due to constant starvation and frequent pregnancies. But in spite of this she remained an Alpha-horse to her last day.
At the age of two she was declared ineligible for further breeding as a Russian Riding horse for her chestnut color. She became a sport horse and at the same age of two she suffered an injury of a shoulder while being ridden by someone. She remained lame for the rest of her life but it wasn’t an obstacle for sportsmen who rode her at rating competitions for many years.
We tried to take her away but they won’t let us do it. In a state of extreme emaciation she died in the same village Lezie in the spring of 2004 under some unclear circumstances… I suppose they just don’t want to tell me what happened that night, when sportsman Yakunin loaded the last survivors on a Gipsy truck. Chimera was too weak to climb the ramp.
So they won’t tell me, ant may be it’s for the better.
Chimera was extremely talented as well as her daughter is, but she suffered all the seventeen years of her life, up to the last minute.
Lipisina’s father is Talisman, a Russian Riding stallion. At the age of seventeen he was already completely blind, they say due to whipping on eyes, and thus had a habit to go in circles in his stall, wearing out the floor planks momentarily.
They took him out only for mating and so he lived for many years.
He was as ‘happy’ as Chimera. During the dispensing of horses in Lezie village he was taken by some ‘kind’ people and then for a certain period some asexual fat bum person rode him, a completely blind eighteen year old stallion, and tried to perform some dressage elements. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it myself. Now he went to another owner, and they say it’s a very attentive and gentle girl. He lives now in good conditions, I haven’t seen it myself but I’m so eager to believe it.
Lipisina has no friends among our other horses, she is an Alpha-leader as a daughter of an Alpha-mare should be. She has a temper of a great lady, capricious, elegant, strong, spirited, and unpredictable and a great show-off as well.
I work with her in the manege every day but no more than for fifteen minutes . But we play and have fun without limits.
In winter she spends nights at a warm stable, in summer she lives in a huge summer stall with an exit to a paddock.
I have not been riding her for about 5 years and will never do it again.
Now she already reads and writes a little in Latin(2009).
Lipisina in an anti-fly rug has a rest in her shelter.
Well, let me finish my confession now.
What did I write all this for? I just wanted you to understand that my relations with horses started in the same common way as thousands of horsemen’s and that it’s not too late to change everything. A man is able to start all from the beginning, and everything depends only on himself.
And though I feel shame and pain in my heart for my past deeds, I hope that my repentance and a sincere wish to change myself and the world will outweigh my sins on the balance of good and evil. I try to do my best in an attempt to make horses’ life better.