Last year the majestic Spanish Riding School celebrated its 450th anniversary and it continues to cultivate classical equitation and amaze visitors from all over the world.
Living tradition, the values of the past blending with the passion of the present The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution in the world which has practiced for nearly 450 years and continues to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the Haute Ecole.
The first existing information about a precursor of the Spanish Riding School is dated September 20th, 1565: in a document to that date a sum of one hundred guilders is mentioned as being invested “to build the Thumblplatz in the gardens at the Purgkh alhie’”.
An open riding and tournament arena was built in the location of today’s Josefsplatz, right next to the Imperial Hofburg Palace. This has to be seen as the first mention of the later Spanish Riding School.
Since 1920, the stud located in the West Styrian village of Piber has been home to the famous Lipizzaners. As the only stud in Austria, Piber’s role is to breed Lipizzaner stallions which will later demonstrate their skills in the world-famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
The Lipizzaners are Europe’s oldest cultural horse breed. They are intelligent and lively horses bred from Spanish, Italian and Arab bloodlines.
With their classic physique and grace they are ideally suited for the representative style of the High School of Classical Horsemanship.
The objective of classical equitation is to study the way the horse naturally moves and to cultivate the highest levels of Haute Ecole elegance the horse is capable of through systematic training.
The result creates an unparalleled harmony between rider and horse, as only Vienna’s Spanish Riding School achieves
The Morning Exercise offers an insight into the years of training of the Lipizzaners and their riders.
Accompanied by classical Viennese music the riders and their horses do simple relaxing exercises and exercises aimed at refining and perfecting a certain movement. Through the specific strengthening and building up of the muscles, the horses’ natural movements are developed into the perfect figures of the High School of classical Horsemanship.
The Spanish Riding School does not want to put too much strain on the horses, the classical School Jumps, which are shown during the performances, are not practised on a daily basis.
In an exclusive tour of the Spanish Riding School you as a visitor are able to tour the Winter Riding School, a gem of Baroque architecture, the Summer Riding School which houses the world’s largest oval horse walker and the stables in the Stallburg, Vienna’s most significant Renaissance building with its beautiful arcade courtyard and the historical stables of the Lipizzaner stallions.
You will see the various locations which account for the special charm of this establishment and you will learn about our history, the equestrian tradition and about the Lipizzaner stallions – the stars!
Architectural tours are available as well.
For the latest programme, dates and prices visit www.srs.at/en
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