About the Fascinating Horse Kingdom of ViennaThe Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule) in Vienna is probably the only institution in the world that for more than 500 years has been teaching and preserving the traditional riding style (haute école) of Western Europe.
Riding in general was part of the social status of the nobility and empire, for they would boast of their horses as part of their objects of art, sculptures, paintings, silver and gold. This was also the reason why it was important for them to try and preserve it for future generations.
At its founding, the place was a horse breeding sanctuary for the Habsburg House, but later became one of the most prestigious and well known schools in the world for training, learning and riding instruction for the aristocracy. According to this method, the purebred horses are trained to become well-trained horses. They move in a noble way and the many exercises bring the riders to total control and harmony with the horses.
Since then, the place has provided riding lessons for the Viennese aristocracy. Next to it are the royal stables, where the Lipizzan horses are taken care of, horses of the most ancient breed in Europe. They are called so because 400 years ago they were raised in Lipica, which until 1918 was part of Austria. At the school they also take care of the riders' excellent riding equipment, such as saddles, bridles and pullers.
The school building is located near the Michaelerplatz Square, in the Hofburg Palace complex. It is open to visitors who can visit to watch the training and performances of experienced riders.
For tourists and residents of Vienna, the school presents special riding shows, a kind of ballet that shows remarkable harmony between skilled riders and the Lipizzan horses. These performances take place in a beautifully decorated riding hall and the sounds of classical music, such as Viennese waltzes written by Johann Strauss’s son, are played. The riders ride the horses in an elegant way that once characterized the noblemen of the era of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and today is a souvenir of the past.
TipsSome people were disappointed with the display, others liked it. This is a different pleasure than usual, but with totally passive viewing. It is not for everyone, and therefore it is worthwhile to think and decide before going, so as not to be disappointed.