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365 Days in Horse Country – The Spanish Riding School

Blog by Michael Stuart Webb | December 26th, 2013

365 Days in Horse Country – The Spanish Riding School

 Ask any person well versed in the history of horses, and he or she will be able to tell you all about the Spanish riding School.

The Spanish Riding School is an old, prestigious training centre for Lipizzan horses and riders in Vienna.  Called the Spanish Riding School because the first horses trained at the school in 1572 were of Spanish breeding, the academy was an important training centre for military horsemanship during post-medieval times.

Now an important tourist attraction in Vienna, the school features a beautiful hall that was built in the 1700s. The Lipizann stallions who are trained there, are exhibited in regular performances for the public.  Training sessions with the famous stallions, which are bred elsewhere in Austria, can also be viewed by the public.

The Lipizzan stallions of the Spanish Riding School are taught classical dressage, and they begin their training at age four.  It takes four to six years to train a horse all the way to the highest level, which includes airs above the ground, which are very difficult and dramatic maneuvers.  The Lipizzans of the Spanish Riding School are most famous for being able to perform these gravity-defying maneuvers, which include the levade, corbet, and capriole.  The lipizzans occasionally go on tour, taking their performances internationally.  Horse lovers line up in droves to see these magnificent horses at work.