Friday, September 10, 2010

Camargue Horses

White horses of the CamargueImage by Stellas mom via FlickrI think I'm going to make field trips a weekly feature, especially considering that France is important to Burnt Amber.

This time I'm taking us to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, in the south of France. I have lots of reasons, as you know I make the most random connections, but the main reason is because the Popes were in France when Queen Zabel was alive.

I suppose, since I 've been talking about Goddess Culture, you would also like to know that the town is a Roma (gypsy) pilgrimage site.  Every year they gather for the feast of Saint Sarah, whose story gave the town its name.  Its a sad thing the French government doesn't appreciate the value of that cultural heritage.

Anywho... Gypsies are supposed to be excellent fortunetellers, so I have reason to include them in my research too.  Did you know that The Gipsy Kings are from that area? I didn't.

The region, called Camargue, is an important estuary. The Rhone river splits in two, forming a vast delta with lagoons and marshlands near the coast of the Mediterranean.  Lots of wildlife to see and admire, like flamingos who only have the slightest tinge of pink on their wings.  Legendary black fighting bulls also call the Camargue home and Gardians Camargue horses to herd them.

The Camargue horse is an ancient breed that still runs wild in the marshes today.  Gardians, or local cowboys if you will, only break in what they need for saddle horses. Even those aren't kept in barns though, they're let out on the marshes.

The Camargue horse is a graceful, sturdy breed, which is actually a pony. A horseman would call them grey because the skin under their coat is black.  They're born black or dark brown but they change out their coats with white as they mature.To the layperson, its a white horse. Or grey or gray?  Whatever you call them, they're magical!

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Hart Johnson said...

I like this relationship between myth, history and horses. In Chinese Astrology I am a Firehorse (and in China before the 20th century, we were considered 'so fiercely independent we would inevitably dishonor our families' and so euthanized)--in western culture that independence is a boon... but I digress... I like the site though, that draws religious, gypsy, and the great wildlife. (the flamingos would lack pink if their diet wasn't so heavy in shrimp as the places we normally see flamingos--the shrimp are responsible for the color.)

LTM said...

supercool, Carolyn! I love hearing about stuff like this... And the Gypsy Kings are from France? LOL! something new~


Carolyn Abiad said...

Even I learned something new...Firehorses! I'm liking those ;)

Unknown said...

Cool field trip! The horses are beautiful and I love The Gypsy Kings.


Missed Periods said...

I would also like to take a field trip to the south of France!


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