After the 71st international tour of the Spanish Riding School the 28 Lipizzaner stallions and their eight chief riders and riders have well arrived back in Vienna. The five-week journey from October 26th to December 1st, has lead the White Ballet to Sheffield, London, Brussels and Amsterdam. In total, ten performances have been presented.
Since their first international tour in 1925 the riders and their famous white Lipizzaner stallions have gone abroad on a regular basis. „The Spanish Riding School regularly undertakes international tours. And it’s always a pleasure to present the High School of Classical Horsemanship to horse lovers all over the world“, says Chief Rider Andreas Hausberger.
Booked up performances and royal guests
The tour started in Sheffield with three performances delighting more than 14,000 visitors in total. Solely in London, the Lipizzaners attracted more than 15,000 visitors to the Wembley Arena. In Brussels, the Equipe of the Spanish Riding School presented itself in the 5,200 seats containing arena in front of Prince Lorenz of Belgium and his daughter. In Amsterdam the international tour came to a very dignified conclusion with the visit of the royal couple of the Netherlands King Wilhelm-Alexander and Queen Máxima, their three daughters as well as Princess Beatrix.
We are very happy that our Lipizzaners and their riders have inspired so many visitors with their performances. In this way we can be ambassadors for Vienna and keep the reputation of the Spanish Riding School alive“, Elisabeth Gürtler, managing director, makes up a positive balance. „Certainly, the fact that our whole Equipe has stayed healthy during the tour makes our success even better. “
Careful preparations and a sophisticated logistics system
Every tour requires careful and detailed preparations. In total approximately five to six tons of equipment – from the riders’ uniforms to a sewing needle – are stowed away in up to 90 large tour chests. They include the splendid white buckskin saddles and brass-plated bridles for the performances, training saddles, snaffle and double bridles for exercising the horses between the shows, and various spares and repair material should anything be damaged. Additionally each stallion has his own blankets, brushes and grooming kit which all need to be considered, packed and transported.
„We even take along the stallions’ special muesli, so that we don’t risk upsetting their digestion with a sudden change in feed” says Stable Master Andreas Haipl. Every week the stallions feed on approximately 500 kg of muesli. Hay, oats and straw in the order of one to two tons per week and of course apples and carrots are supplied at each venue. All this needs to be arranged well in advance of the horses’ journey.
Varied program in Vienna
Those you would like to watch the Lipizzaner stallions while refining and perfecting the High School of Classical Horsemanship can attend the Traditional Morning Exercise from Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. This training accompanied by classical Viennese music also takes place on December 24 and 26.
During the Performances the Lipizzaner stallions and their riders show the perfection of the High School of Classical Horsemanship in the baroque Winter Riding School: On December 6, 7, 13, 14, 20, 21 and 28 at 11:00 a.m., on December 30 at 7:00 p.m. and on December 31 at 11:00 a.m.
And for those ones who would like to take a look behind the scenes of the Spanish Riding School, the Guided Tours provide fascinating insider knowledge every day at 1, 2, 3 and 4 p.m. (except for December 24, 26 and 31).
All dates for the Spanish Riding School are available and can be booked on the Internet at http://www.srs.at.