Four Hoofed Perfection in White

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When visiting Vienna one can expect to experience and discover things not found in other places. Such precious gems are the white Lippizzaner Stallions of the world renowned Imperial Horse Riding School which we went to see on our second day in Vienna. This exceptional breed of muscular horses dates back to the 16th century when it was developed with the support of the Habsburg nobility and has become a government supported institution ever since. Amidst an animated cacophony of foreign words and phases, Bob and I took our gallery seats under the brilliance of lit up crystal chandeliers. Dressed up with red velvet, gold trimmed saddle blankets and jeweled reigns, bridles and harnesses flashing under the sparkling light, this fine Austrian horse breed made their grand entrance into the festive performance hall. Since video taping and photography was strictly forbidden I was only able to take a few shots before the Stallions entered the hall to a lorious fanfare of trumpets, flutes, violins and drums. Their steps in perfect synch with the music, these perfectly groomed teams of horses and riders demonstrated the highest degree of horsemanship and classical dressage of the haute ecole (high school) in the most graceful and effortless way imaginable. While lining up in round and oval circles, riding across the hall in formation of straight and diagonal lines and intricate crossing patterns, my jaw dropped several times at the precision and grace with which these regal creatures demonstrated their movements. As I watched mesmerized this beautiful dance of steps, pirouettes and stylized trademark jumps known as “airs above the ground” unfold before me, I was once again reminded of the utmost beauty, grandeur and treasures my homeland had inherited through the reign of the Austro-Hungarian Emperors.

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2 responses »

  1. How did you get those photos? When we were there ( twice! 04 & 05 ) we weren’t allowed to take any photos! These are my favorite horses…well, along with Freisans. =)

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