Queens Favourite Riding School Celebrates 1st Foal Of Y

Story ByMichael Leidig, Sub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News 

Video Credit: CEN

The Queen’s favourite riding school is celebrating after the first foal of the year was born at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.

The Spanish Riding School with its snow white Lipizzaner horses is famous for its classic dressage and its main base in the Austrian Capital of Vienna is a major tourist attraction.

Picture Credit: CEN

Hailed as the oldest riding school in the world, the horses often travel around the world as well and in the past have performed for Queen Elizabeth II.

But the stud farm is located in the south of Austria in Styria, where this year managers have reported the first foal of the New Year, and which this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

This youngster, which is female, was born a few days earlier than expected and may not look the image of her mother yet but in fact all foals are born either black or dark brown, and it takes between six and 10 years for them to gain the white or light grey colour of their parents.

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Stud master Erwin Movia said: “The mother Dubovina and the cute tiny Lipizzaner are both doing very well. Since then the mare and her little foal are exploring the world in small walks around the stable.”

He added: “The birth was without any problems and we can see what a lively one this one is going to be.”

The youngster will only be named when she reaches six months of age and is separated from her mother.

Video Credit: CEN

Like every year around 40 foals are expected at the Piber Lipizzaner Stud from January to May, and several will have their first debut in the riding hall at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna as part of the summer program “Piber meets Vienna”.

The four- to five-month-old little Lipizzaners are one the most popular highlights of the summer season in town where the Lipizzaners perform in front of 1,000-strong crowds that regularly pack the Spanish Riding School’s hall in the Hofburg Palace. The horses are loved for their calm temperament, blue-blooded elegance and mysterious air.

With their large heads and deep, dark eyes they are the most prominent reminders of their Arabian ancestry and are thought to have been introduced to Europe in around 800 AD when Hannibal made his
famous crossing from North Africa.

Picture Credit: CEN

In Spain, they were cross-bred to be hardy for military use and trained in the classical art of equitation. The Spanish Riding School, set up around 1572, was so called after Austrian Emperor Maximilian II had a number of the elite breed imported from Spain.

The term Lipizzaner was coined after the founding of a stud in 1580 in Lipica, then part of Austria’s Habsburg empire. At the end of World War I, the newly founded Austrian republic
took over the school and the horses were moved to the Federal Stud in Piber in south Austria.

The Italians occupied Lipica in World War II and after capitulating left for home with some 100 Lipizzaner horses, together with their complete documentation.

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