Spanish Riding School

With a history of more than 430 years, the Spanish Riding School (Spanische Hofreitschule) is the oldest riding institution in the world. The traditional establishment is thus an extremely important cultural institution in Vienna and annually attracts more than 300.000 visitors. Based in St. Michael's Wing of the Viennese Hofburg Palace, the high art of classical horsemanship has been cultivated and practiced here ever since. Thereby the Spanish Riding School with its Lipizzaner training significantly contributes to the conservation of this art.

History of the Spanish Riding School

The institution was first documented in 1572 in the form of a bill, which mentioned a wood supply for the establishment of a riding arena. The term "Spanish" Riding School is derived from the Spanish breed of horse that originated from the Iberian Peninsula as a predecessor of the Lipizzaner horses. This breed was regarded as particularly noble, docile and suitable for the art of classical riding.

Finally, it was the Emperor Charles VI, who built the magnificent Winter Riding School in the complex of the Hofburg Palace. Therefore he commissioned the famous architect Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach. In the splendid Baroque hall built between 1729 and 1735, today Lipizzaner stallions are trained and presented to the numerous visitors in impressive performances. The conditions could not be better: The hall is considered the most beautiful riding hall in the world.

Classical horsemanship dedicated to tradition

The Spanish Riding School enjoys its reputation as the only institution that has consistently maintained and thus preserved the art of classical riding over the last few centuries to the present day. This was particularly due to the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars, which terminated the activities of all other institutions across Europe, who had been committed to classical horsemanship.