From pasture to „Pas de Deux“ – the Stallions’ Schooling

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From pasture to „Pas de Deux“ – the Stallions’ Schooling

When they are approximately four years old, the Lipizzaner stallions leave their birthplace Piber and travel to the Training Centre Heldenberg where they are subsequently trained according to the principles of classical horsemanship. His Excellency Holbein and Chief Rider Franz Meixner recorded the general outline of these principles in their booklet, the so-called “Directiven”. The first priority of a Lipizzaner’s training is in no way different to that of any other horse and can be summed up as the pursuit of obedience, suppleness, responsiveness and ease. Lipizzaners are not only frugal, strong and particularly well suited for the art of classical horsemanship; they are intelligent and have an exceedingly good memory. These are all qualities that the trainer should know and make use of in his work with the horse:

  1. The first year deals with the elementary field schooling of the „Remonte“, the young horse. The horse is ridden as much as possible in a natural posture in uncollected gaits on straight lines.
  2. The following year comprises what is called the secondary field schooling, the Campagne School. The collected horse is ridden in all gaits, turns and circles in complete balance.
  3. The „Haute Ecole“ (High School): Here the rider brings his horse to perfection. Everything now depends on the individual skill, talent, strength and sensitivity of each stallion and what he offers. In total collection the stallion learns the piaffe, the passage, pirouettes and to change legs in the canter. It takes approximately six years for a stallion to be ready to take part in the School Quadrille. Having accomplished this he has completed his schooling. Only very few, particularly talented and sensitive stallions master the art of the “Schools above the Ground” (levade, courbette, capriole).