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Saturday, May 16, 2009

The world famous Royal Lipizzaner Stallions

The name Lipizzaner, taken from one of the earliest stud farms established, near the Kras village of Lipica (spelled "Lipizza" in Italian), in modern-day Slovenia. Closely associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria. The Lipizzaners are world renowned for their regal grace while performing the haute ecole or "high school" movements of classical dressage, including acrobatic jumps and other highly controled movements known as the "airs above the ground."

Lipizzaners average 15-16 hands in height (60-64 in., or 152-164cm) and weigh about 1,000-1,300lbs. (450-585kg.). Having a long back and a short, thick neck. This light breed of horse is born black or dark brown gradually turning gray or white by the time they reach the age of 5-8 years old. This sturdy, compact breed of horse was developed from Spanish, Italian, Danish and Arab stock and are most notably bred and trained at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. The foundation of this breed, having six strains, dates back to 1580.

Enduring many wartime re locations over the centuries, preventing the extinction of the breed. Beginning with the First War of Coalition in 1797 and again in 1805 when Napoleon invaded Austria. Again being moved three more times during the unsettled period of Austria following the Peace of Sschonbrunn in 1809. Finally returning to Lipica in 1815 where they remained until the 20th century during WWI in 1915. Then again in WWII during the high command of Nazi Germany in 1942 where they were moved to St. Martins Austria. Perhaps the most notable rescue in 1945 due to the fear of slaughter for horse meat if captured by the Soviet Army. The call went out to the near by United States Third Army commanded by a horseman and former Olympic competitor, General George S Patton and also the United States Second Calvary, commanded by Colonel Charles Reed. Following an exhibition of the noble stallions by the head of the Spanish Riding School, Colonel Alois Podhajsky requested the horses be taken under General Patton's' protection. This endeavor later made famous by the Disney movie Miracle of the White Stallions.

Originally intended to be used in warfare these awe-inspiring movements have been preserved throughout the centuries as classical equestrian art. I have had the unique pleasure of seeing these magnificent animals perform their exhilarating maneuvers and I must say it is truly a jaw dropping experience. It was absolutely an edge of your seat performance. I would implore everyone to go and see them the next time they are in your area. I have only found one link so far that tours but I will continue my search and keep you posted of any other links I find and gladly post them here for your convenience.


  1. This is great :) Been looking for a blog like this for a while! I shall enjoy reading :D

  2. Love this blog!! I have a lipizzaner, and really enjoyed this post!!