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!
Something you'll come across on occasion in parts of Brazil (I've seen it mostly in the state of São Paulo) is parade tack made of brass rings. Here is an example of a breast collar, being shown to me by a student at the Universidade do Cavalo, in Sorocaba:
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.
At the Art Institute of Chicago I saw two lovely depictions of donkeys. The first was this fragment from an Egyptian tomb with several donkeys on it. From an artistic perspective I thought this was one of the most beautifully rendered depictions of an animal I've ever seen.
Intrepid YouTube prowler Mike Matson uncovered this spectacular gem, showing the famous Cristiani circus family demonstrating some of their amazing vaulting. I'd seen still photos of this before, but never video. It's truly spectacular! Take a look: