I must admit my favorite part of the ornate harnesses of the horses at the St. Alfio festival in Sicily is the plumage. The plumes on these horses reach epic proportions, and are unlike anything I've seen elsewhere. They are simply spectacular!
Al Zammataro wins the award for biggest fan of Global Horse Culture! Last year he sent me some snapshots from an incredible festival in Sicily, where spectacularly-adorned horses and carts are paraded in celebration of St. Alfio's festival day.
This year, he sent me more photos - taken by a friend of his - with even more detail of the costumes, harnesses, plumes and elaborate carts. There are even puppets acting out legendary battle scenes mounted on the horses!
My friend Angela Swedberg introduced me to fellow beadworker Al Zammataro, who recently attended the annual festival of Sant'Alfio in Sicily. The story and photos he shared with me are unbelievable and should be quite an eyeful for those of you interested in unusual horse adornment!! The full set of photos follows in the rest of the post.
A photographer friend of mine sent me these shots of dozing taxi horses in Cuba. Her specialty is people, and you can see some of her super portraits from the Caribbean, China and other far-flung places at her website, SelahPhoto. Thanks for the contribution, Suzanne!
It's interesting to see which breeds of horses were widely known in past times. Looking at show programs or books about horse breeds from past decades (or centuries) reveals which breeds were popular or recognized then, and it's often quite different from today.
The map pictured was issued in 1934.
The breeds described are (from bottom center, moving clockwise):