September 2015 - Lipizzans & the Spanish Riding School
Written by CRM
Wednesday, 02 September 2015 01:21
PDF Print E-mail

Unique breed and classic training celebrate 450 years together.

The Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria is celebrating 450 years of classical riding this year. The methods of training and developing the Lipizzan horse have been passed down by mostly an oral tradition. The classical system of training is meant to use the horse’s natural movements and strengthen them to provide complete harmony between the horse and rider. The union of horse and rider is slowly developed in careful stages so the utmost trust and unity can be formed.

12 horses during the 450th year Gala. Photo: Peter Lechner

This kind of systematic gymnastic riding allows the horse time to develop correctly and does not rush their development.

There are 16 riders at the Spanish Riding School of which two are Chief Riders and 12 riders and two assistants make up the rest. In case you are interested in being a rider there are applications online. The SRS also has training courses at their new Heldenberg Training Facility where even amateurs can learn the fundamentals of classical riding.

The horses performing at the SRS come from the Piber Stud Farm in  Graz Austria where they are allowed to have three full summers growing up together on the alpine pastures. This affords the young horses a chance to develop good balance and health while being socialized with other horses with whom they will have close contact with during performances. There are eight Lipizzan Stud Farms in Europe. Piber in Austria. The other stud farms include Fagaras near Romania, Szilvasvarad in Hungary, Topolcianky in Czechoslovakia, Lipizza in Italy, and Vucak, Djakovo and Karadjordievo in Yugoslavia. Lipizzans are common in France, the Netherlands and parts of Canada.

Pluto Fantasia in San Diego ridden by Hallie Eisenhauer as a 9 year old. He is a dream horse with a special personality and a spark to show off during performances. Find your new riding partner in the rare Lipizzan. Photo: Captured Moment Photography

This year to celebrate 450 years of tradition the Spanish Riding School had special anniversary gala performances at the Heldenplatz. The mares and foals were led into the ring for liberty time and all stages of training were shown including a 12 rider quadrille, airs above the ground (courbette, levade, etc) and in hand work. The performances were also televised so everyone could watch. The year the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art (Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecustre of Jerez Spain) was invited to bring 10 horses to join the riders and horses of the SRS in an extraordinary display of classical horsemanship. They showed both Trabajos en la manos (work in hand) and Saltos de Escuela (School Jumps). The Lipizzan is a cross between a Spanish horse and Arabian, Berber lines to form a very unique and rare horse.

Lipizzans are readily available to buy in the USA and you can buy one direct from Vienna. They are a very affordable, well-built horse that can do all the dressage you want along with many other riding styles. Look into buying a Lipizzan and learn more breed history at

Join LANA (Lipizzan Association of North America) for only $55 so you can help continue the breed traditions here in North America. You can also find 450th anniversary souvenirs online at to buy direct from the Spanish Riding School. Go to to learn more about the Andalusian horses performing at the SRS Gala.

Press release provided by LANA. For more information, visit