To undergo training at the Spanish Riding School means a lifelong education, which is always subjected to the needs of the horses. It is tough, takes eight to ten years and requires iron discipline. The handed-down oral tradition of classic equestrian art still applies today and is passed on from generation to generation. The horse takes centre stage and determines the duration of the training. Currently, there are four chief riders, eight riders and for the first time also two female riders, two assistant riders (of which one female) and three students, as well as three trainees at the school.
The Long Way to Become a Rider
The training at the Spanish Riding School starts at the earliest after completing compulsory school at the age of around 15 to 18 years. The first three years are required for the training into a qualified groom and takes the form of stable work and horse care. Trainees, who also convince as potential riders, may enjoy the advantage of equestrian training under the guidance of an experienced rider.
For one to two years the trainee trains at longeing and perfecting his seat without stirrups. Only after successfully passing the groom examination, the members of the riding school and the management decide on the suitability of the trainees. If this meets expectations, the trainee acquires student status.
The student years are dominated by training in the riding arena. Aim is the consummate presentation of a trained school stallion in a show. If the student gets approval from the riding school, he is appointed as candidate rider. This means that he receives his first young stud, whose entire training rests on his shoulders. As soon as this horse is presented to the public in a show with one of the programme points “all steps and movements” or “great school quadrille", the candidate rider has fulfilled his accomplishment - he is promoted to the rider status.
To become chief rider, one requires sufficient experience and special training successes as a rider and as a teacher. This status is reserved for only a few. Currently, besides the Spanish Riding School has three Chief Riders. They are responsible for the high quality of the training. Incidentally: The exclusive oral tradition is one of the many lived-through traditions of the Spanish Riding School and is still being kept alive since many generations.