While we were in Wauchula, we decided to go on a day outing to Solomon's Castle located approximately 30 miles away in Ona.
This is the home of artist and sculptor, Howard Solomon. He and his wife live here and open their home to tours. The siding on the outside of the house is made from aluminum offset newspaper printing plates.
Everything he uses for his art and construction of the home is from recycled materials. The home is 12,000 square feet and the tour takes you through most of it with lots of puns describing the art work.
For example, this was the wall leading to the kitchen. We were told it was just a "plane" wall.
After the tour, we went to the "Boat in the Moat" Restaurant. We enjoyed a couple of sandwiches
and then took the short nature loop before proceeding to our next stop.
Our next stop was in Myakka City to watch the afternoon training session of the Royal Lipizzaner Stallions. While the horses winter here, public training sessions are held on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. They are free, but they do ask for donations to help provide for the care of the horses.
Only a few hundred horses have ever existed at any one time. They were barely saved by General George Patton from the Russian advance during World War II. Assisting Patton in the clandestine mission to rescue the Lipizzans, Colonel Herrmann and his father, Colonel Ottomar Herrmann, Sr., smuggled the horses out from far behind enemy lines, riding at night and hiding by day. One of my favorite movies when I was a kid was Disney's The Miracle of the White Stallions and it told about this rescue.
The breed continued and the Herrmann family still maintains a 200 acre ranch in Florida. Colonel Herrmann passed away in 2004, but his daughter Gabriella has continued the legacy.
Before the training session, you can tour the stables and farm.
The program began at 3:00 with the Star Spangled Banner. An interesting side note, the riders performing were all women. The reason being, genetics, there has been mainly women born to the Herrmann family.
The Lippazaner Stallions are famous for their "Airs Above the Ground" moves that were originally outlined by Xenophon the Greek and derived from defensive horsemanship created for war and predates the birth of Christ by some 400 years. These spectacular leaps and plunges were originally meant for use by mounted riders to inspire terror in the hears of foot soldiers.
It was a magnificent sight to behold.
Just after the horse rises on its hind legs, it gives a forward hop. It was amazing!
So, a castle, royal horses, and some great singing, it was quite a day!