450 years Spanish Riding School in Vienna

A glamorous anniversar


450 years Spanish Riding School in Vienna – a glamorous anniversary

The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution in the world where classical horsemanship according to the Renaissance tradition of the Haute Ecole has been practiced and cultivated for 450 years.

The objective of classical horsemanship is to study the natural steps and movements of the horse bringing it to the highest level of Haute Ecole by systematic training. This results in an unparalleled harmony between rider and horse, as only Vienna’s Spanish Riding School is presenting it nowadays.

1572, the initial date of foundation, celebrated as the 400th anniversary of the Riding School in 1972 with a gala performance and a subsequent glamorous reception at Imperial Palace Schönbrunn has officially been revised. Lorenz Mikoletzky ascertained already in 1985 that the date of foundation has been wrongly communicated due to a reading error. Additionally, the following passage can be found in the book “The Lipizzaners of the Spanish Riding School” published by Georg Kugler and Wolfdieter Bihl:

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.

In 2015, the Spanish Riding School celebrate its 450th anniversary with numerous festivities. Glittering highlight of the celebrations were the two gala performances (and one final rehearsal) helt at the Heldenplatz in front of the Federal Presidency at the end of June. In honour of this special occasion, the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art (Real Escuela Andaluza del Arte Ecuestre) of Jerez came to Vienna to join the riders and horses of the Spanish Riding School in an extraordinary display of classical horsemanship.


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