The morning exercise, how long does it last?
The morning exercise lasts for 2 hours. It is actually divided into 4 x 30 minute sessions of practice and training for the horses and riders. It is not an actual show, although it is an enjoyable experience.
The Ballet of the White Stallions
The world famous performances are conducted by the Lipizzan breed of horses. They are the oldest breed of domesticated horse in Europe and are named after an imperial stud located close to Trieste. The horses are trained and perform at the Winter Riding School at Hofburg Palace which was built under the orders of King Charles VI. Before they get to perform the horses have undertaken years of training and are transformed from young boisterous stallions into fully trained stallions of the Spanish Riding School.
Atmosphere during a performance
Audiences are enchanted with the performances of the horses and their riders. Each performance is accompanied by classical Viennese music that adds to the enjoyment of the audience.
The Morning Exercise
During the morning exercise routine the horses and their riders practice the carefully choreographed steps which must be perfectly executed during an evening gala performance.
Historical use of the lipizzan breed
At one time the lipizzan breed could be found stabled in the courtyard of several royal households across Europe. They were a valued breed and used mostly for ceremonial duties such as parades, jousting tournaments as well as military campaigns. Despite their historical importance they are only now used in Vienna at the Spanish Riding School. It is the only training school in the world that has continued to practice classical equitation using the traditional style of haute ecole since the time of the Renaissance.
Selecting the right horses
The horses are bred in Styria at the Piber Stud Farm and only the best young stallions that demonstrate the ability to jump together with good stamina are then selected for training. The training combines movements that the horses make naturally while in a pasture. Combining gaits, changes of step and jumps in a stylized form. The training allows the horses to strengthen their muscles while developing the ability to perfect those movements choreographically.