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Lipizzaner Horse of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna performing White Stallions.

Updated on January 21, 2012

The White Horses of Vienna

The wonderful Lipizzaner horse
The wonderful Lipizzaner horse
The Proud Telltale Brand of the Lipizzaner breed.
The Proud Telltale Brand of the Lipizzaner breed.
Immaculate turn out
Immaculate turn out
Total Training for the lipizzaner Horses in the Displays.
Total Training for the lipizzaner Horses in the Displays.

The Spanish Riding School and the Lipizzaner Horses

As a teenager, many moons ago, I was lucky enough to to visit Lipizza in the then Yugoslavia, now Lipica, near Trieste on the Italian border, now in the modern Slovenia. Here is the home of one of the Lipizzaner stud farms, founded in 1580 by a member of the Hapsburg nobility using mainly Spanish stock The Spanish stock itself initially was bred from the Barb horse of Moorish origins. Today, the farm is still a thriving stud, housing wonderful stocky and strong stallions and mares going back in blood lines to the original set up all those years ago through six major bloodlines. Although the horses are known as "white", they are actually grey. The foals are born bay or almost black and gradually fade in color with age until at six they are the well known "white". A bay stallion is always kept at the stud.

The Lipizzaners are best known from their performances as the Spanish Riding School. This is a disciplined display of High School riding following the ancient Greek rules of Xenophon. These movements are based on the use of the horse in battle designed to keep the rider safe. The display contains the Airs above the ground the horse is trained to do a controlled rear, a spirited kick all under the rider's control. It usually takes six years to train the horse to this standard. I have been lucky enough to watch this amazing display, it is totally disciplined and spectacular.

These beautiful horses are not just used in displays. Some of them compete in show jumping where there power is put to use or just as family mounts. They are well represented in the field of international dressage. There average size is between 14.3 and 15.3 making them useful for every member of the family. Heavier versions of this horse are also used as carriage horses. A truly versatile breed.

Fabulous Lipizzaner Horse

Home of the original stud and views of the Imperial Palace

The original Stables in Lipizza that I visited as a Teenager
The original Stables in Lipizza that I visited as a Teenager
The Imperial Riding Palace in Vienna, home of the Spanish Riding School. I visited and toured the immaculate stables.
The Imperial Riding Palace in Vienna, home of the Spanish Riding School. I visited and toured the immaculate stables.
The magnificent Riding Hall inside the Imperial Palace
The magnificent Riding Hall inside the Imperial Palace
Views of the Vienna stables.
Views of the Vienna stables.
Well someone has to do it!        All photos courtesy of Flickr
Well someone has to do it! All photos courtesy of Flickr

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    • Gypsy Willow profile imageAUTHOR

      Gypsy Willow 

      6 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks Mr Archer

      I have been a life long traveller, hence the Gypsy Willow!

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 

      6 years ago from Missouri

      What a fascinating life you must lead, to be able to travel to these wonderful locales! I have long admired these horses, and watched when they appeared on the telly. Great article.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 

      6 years ago from Wales

      Oh how I love this one. I love anything to do with nature or animals and this one was a rare treat.

      I love your topics and natural writing style.

      Here's to so many more to share on here.

      Eddy.

    • Gypsy Willow profile imageAUTHOR

      Gypsy Willow 

      8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      http://www.nytimes.com/1983/03/28/world/virus-kill... This is a link to the latest news on this terrible disease. Amazing that such a miniscule life form can create such chaos. Thanks for bringing this to my attention Ivan

    • Ivan the Terrible profile image

      Ivan the Terrible 

      8 years ago from Madrid

      Is that disease that threatened the Lipizzaners now under control? I heard quite a few of these magnificent animals succumbed to it.

    • Gypsy Willow profile imageAUTHOR

      Gypsy Willow 

      8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Their show as the Spanish Riding School is an amazing exhibition of precision. I also saw the breed giving aa display in NSW Australia. Thanks for the comment!

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 

      8 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      I went to see a show about the Lipizzaners with my niece, well worth the money to see these animals in action.

    • Gypsy Willow profile imageAUTHOR

      Gypsy Willow 

      8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Thanks for dropping by scarytaff, having been born in Wales I was always influenced by ponies and horses while growing up.Glad you enjoyed it, and yes I am lucky.

    • scarytaff profile image

      Derek James 

      8 years ago from South Wales

      What beauty and grace these horses have.Magnificent, and lucky you, Gypsy.

    • Gypsy Willow profile imageAUTHOR

      Gypsy Willow 

      8 years ago from Lake Tahoe Nevada USA , Wales UK and Taupo New Zealand

      Hello UK Wordsmith. They are magnificent, I saw them perform at Wenbley Arena. It was an amazing spectacle. Thanks for dropping by.

    • UK Wordsmith profile image

      UK Wordsmith 

      8 years ago

      Thank you for reminding us all about this magnificent breed of horse.

      I chose the word 'magnificent' deliberately!

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