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What is the Spanish Riding School?

What is the Spanish Riding School?There is only one place where the horse is ridden according to traditional rites which have come down from the days of chivalry – the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Its beginnings can be traced from 1572. The art of haute ecole had hardly changed since it was developed by Louis XIII’s Master of the Horse.

The riding Hall was built in 1735. Its lofty ceiling, unsupported by pillars, is at its loveliest at night when two vast chandeliers each blaze with a hundred lights. In this stately setting the horses go through the classical movements of an equestrian ballet, a display of strength and grace which is the ultimate expression of breeding and training. The world-famous white Lipizzaner stallions take their name from the village of Lipizza, near Trieste, where the original stud was founded in 1580 by Archduke Charles, with Spanish horses. Now the stud is at Piber in Styria. Only stallions go through the schooling. In haute ecole the horse’s natural movements are developed to perfection. Movements include the pirouette, the piaffe, the passage, the courbette, the capriole and the levade.

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