Archive for March, 2011

Let the top classical riders in the world inspire you!

 This year we have already organised holidays for several clients to tie in a visit to Vienna and the Spanish Riding School with a chance to visit a superb riding resort with it’s own Lipizzaner stud where you can choose to have dressage lessons on highly schooled stallions and mares or perhaps take a hack through Burgenland’s glorious landscape. Or combine both! The Riding Company also offer ‘Learn on a Lipizzaner’ courses for beginners who are  inspired by the Viennese home of classical riding, why not start at the top and learn to ride  in 5* luxury on the Rolls-Royce of the horse world!

Start your holiday with a few nights in Vienna. Kat and Penny have hand picked a number of hotels, all chosen for their proximity to the Spanish Riding School. There is so much to see and do in Austria’s historic capital but for horse lovers a visit to the home of classical riding, based in the stunning baroque Hofburg, is always central to any stay.

The Spanish Riding School, a significant part of Austria’s cultural heritage, is not only the oldest riding academy in the world, it is also the only one where the High School of Classical Horsemanship has been cherished and maintained for over 430 years. The School takes the “Spanish” part of its name from the horses which originated from the Iberian Peninsula during the 16th century and which were considered especially noble, spirited and willing and suited for the art of classical horsemanship. Today’s Lipizzaner stallions are the descendants of this proud Spanish breed, a cross between Spanish, Arabian and Berber horses, and they delight horse lovers from all over the world with their performances.

In 1729 Emperor Charles VI commissioned the architect Josef Emanuel Fischer von Erlach to build the magnificent Winter Riding School in the Hofburg Palace; it was completed in 1735. A portrait of the monarch graces the splendid baroque hall in which the riders of the Spanish Riding School train their Lipizzaner stallions and show off their skills to an international audience during the public performances. Seeing the ballet of the white stallions against this amazing backdrop is really something to remember. Even if you have seen them on tour in the UK, it is a great experience to visit them ‘at home’ in the splendour of old Vienna and do the stable tour and watch the public training sessions.

Gala performances in full costume with music take place on either Saturday or Sunday mornings at 11.00 a.m. (and some Fridays at 6pm). Tickets cost between £31 and £112 depending on the seats. Seats have to be booked in advance. We always advise booking online direct with the school to ensure you get the ticket you want on the date you require, either seated or standing or we can obtain these on your behalf through our Viennese agent.  In July and August the horses return to graze the summer pastures at the Piber stud.  The School is also closed on Mondays, public holidays and in January. Performances run on most weekends  through to July. After the Summer break, performances start again on Sundays throughout September through to November. There are occasional performances on Fridays and Saturdays. The morning training session with music takes place from Tuesday to Saturday (except public holidays) from 10.00 a.m. to 12.00 noon and is really worth a visit.  In February the training also takes place on Mondays. Free entry to the Lipizzaner Museum with your ticket. Tickets are available on the door (Michaelerplatz 1, Tues to Sat) and at Josefplatz on the day. Cost €12

There is also a wonderful  guided of the Hofburg  stables which takes place in the afternoons except Mondays, usually 2, 3 and 4 pm. Cost €16 (or €26 when combined with a ticket for morning exercise on the same day).


One of the mares at Reiter’s Resort with her foal

Ok, so you have been inspired! Why not take that inspiration and ride a Lipizzaner yourself. Just an hour and a half from Vienna is the amazing Reiter’s Resort with it’s own home bred, highly schooled Lipizzaners. There are two fantastic hotels there to choose from, one the 5* Supreme, catering for adults only, and the 4* Avance which is designed with families in mind. Both offer luxurious spa facilities and top class accommodation and food. If you have a non riding partner or family then fear not, there is plenty to do whilst you experience the Lipizzaners first hand. (Golf, tennis, walking, yoga and much more, free child care and children’s activity club at the Avance). There is a club for younger riders, ‘Lipizzaner & Co’, and the centre offer horses for all abilities. Start on the lunge as a beginner or ride a stallion if you are an experienced rider. You will recieve excellent instruction and more experienced riders can opt to hack out through the beautiful wine country of Eastern Austria. I should mention that if you fall in love with one of these beautiful horses, you may wish to take home a souvenir. Reiter’s Resort Lipizzaner Stud do sell  Lipizzaners, and the Ridng Centre will be happy to show you the young stock on sale!! You may need more than a suitcase…..

   One of our clients enjoying a recent trip to Vienna and the Supreme Hotel

If you would like to experience a little white horse magic yourself take a look at our website, You can visit Vienna as a stand alone holiday http://www.theridingcompany.com/uk/spanish-riding-school.htm
or combine it with some riding at the Supreme  http://www.theridingcompany.com/uk/yoga-spa-spur.htm  or Avance http://www.theridingcompany.com/uk/avance-activity-hotel.htm
Penny and Kat at The Riding Company are happy to advise and tailor a holiday for you, either as a solo traveller or with friends and family. 


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