Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Vienna and the Spanish Riding School

Andreas Hausberger, Chief rider of the SRS
and Maestoso Bellamira sharing a moment
 at the end of their training session
This week we will take a trip across the ocean to enjoy the horses and history of the Lipizzan horse.

In June of 2014 I was lucky enough to make the trip to Europe for three weeks of Lipizzan immersion. My friend and fellow photographer Gabriele Boiselle arranged a tour to visit the Spanish Riding School, The Lipica Stud in Slovenia, the Piber Stud in Austria as well as the Hungarian State Stud in Babolna, Hungary. It was a dream come true and far exceeded my expectations!

We spent several days in Vienna enjoying the sights, the food and the people. The weather was delightful and we walked many miles enjoying this wonderful city. The rich history reflected in the architecture and statues everywhere as well as the horses and carriages took us back to an earlier time when horses were part of every day life.

We spent one morning enjoying a training session at the Spanish Riding School and were lucky enough to be granted permission to photograph. Several sessions of training took place, from younger horses starting with basic training to older stallions doing the more advanced maneuvers under saddle and on the long lines. After the training the stallions wait patiently to be given their sugar which is kept in a special pocket in each rider's jacket. We spent some time touring the stables with the amazing tack room and friendly stallions. I can understand why people from around the world make this place a destination.

Visiting the stables at the SRS and a photo op
with two of the stallions, riders and Dr Max Dobretsberger.

It would be an understatement to say how special this experience was, to sit under the chandeliers in this world famous and beautiful riding hall watching the stallions being put through their paces! The tradition and pride that everyone feels for the horses is evident everywhere and was only reinforced as we continued our travels to the studs where this ancient breed is being preserved. Stay tuned to this blog this week as I take you next to Slovenia to the cradle to the Lipzzan horse, the Lipica Stud!

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