Saturday, September 02, 2006

Vienna, Day 3.

Today I took a tour of the Spanische Hofreitschule or in other words the Lipizzaner Horse Stables and Dressage School of Vienna.

Now, this school is very renowned and has a horse training tradition going back something like 430 years, ordered by no less than Emperor Leopold I, with also a very strong tradition of using the absolutely best, most pure Lipizzaner horses that are bred at Piber (in western Styria) and of which only the horses with most "potential" are sent to the school for training. Each of these horses has a bloodline that is well documented and goes back all the way to the times of the Imperial Court Stud of Lipica, we're talking 16th century here, no joke.

What's more, the training of the horses takes something like 10 years, and the training of riders takes no less than 4, and the riders get promoted little by little, from assistant/student doing menial jobs like cleaning the stables to trainer of young horses until finally you get to ride the horse you've trained yourself (you are in charge of 4 horses per year) and get it to perform some of the most difficult and rigorous dressage tricks in international exhibitions and the like.

The Vienese take this whole tradition thing very seriously. :)

I didn't do much else today. I was very tired. Could've been from the long walk from city center to Schönbrunn yesterday, or it could be simply that I may be catching a cold or something. {shrug}

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