In 1580, Archduke Charles II of Austria bought a stud farm called Lipizza, located in treacherously rough mountain terrain and harsh climate of Karst, where he planned on breeding excellent calvary horses. He cross-bred Andalusians, prized at the time, with all kinds of superb horses, including Arabians from Syria, Spanish horses bred in Germany and Denmark, horses of Neapolitan lines, and horses from the Polesine region of Italy.
In 1920, the famous stud farm in Piber, part of Styria, the moutainous province of Austria, was founded. This is where the main stables of the Spanish Riding School's breeding program are located. At the riding school, horses and soldiers train in classical dressage, which keeps the horses strong and balanced.
|An amazing Lipizzaner(credit)|
During World War II, the existance of the amazing Lipizzaners was threatened. When battle moved closer to Vienna, chief stable master Colonel Alois Podhajsky decided to move the stallions from the riding school another stable, called Lainzer Tiergarten. The horses at Piber were in an area under German command, and Colonel Podhajsky feared for the horses in the area, so he gave 1,000 horses to American troops for safe keeping. General George S. Patton, a dressage rider, sent the horses to Bavaria under the protection of the U.S. Army.
After the War, with the economy down, Podhajsky had trouble justifying continuing classical dressage at Spanish Riding School, so he had to wait until 1955 to return to the school. When he did, he made some changes to preserve the breed and classical dressage. For example, he made the school open to the public, not just dignitaries and royals. He also gave worldwide tours and wrote classical dressage training books.
In 1985, the Spanish Riding School and Piber stud farm became managed by the same group of people In 2007, Elisabeth Gürtler became director of the Spanish Riding School, bringing even more changes. she made family-friendly activities and introduced the concept of female trainees, called eleves.
Breed Description and Uses
Lipizzaners are sturdy, athletic horses. They have a compact body, powerful hindquarters, muscular shoulders, and short, strong legs. Like most Baroque horses, they have a convex profile and low hocks. Most Lipizzaners are born black or dark bay, but become grey with age, usually between the ages 5 and 10. On rare occasions, a horse will remain the color it was when born. Such horses are considered good luck.
Lipizzaners are kind, friendly, patient, and intelligent. Once you earn one's trust, you will have a willing partner and a strong bond.