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Vienna's Spanish Riding School celebrates 450th anniversary with Infanta Elena among the audience
29 June 2015 @ 21:48

THE Spanish Riding School in Vienna has gone back to its roots to celebrate its 450th anniversary, with horses brought over from its counterpart in Jerez de la Frontera (Cádiz province) to join their distant relatives in a spectacular high-school dressage display.

King Felipe VI's elder sister, the Infanta Elena – an accomplished international showjumper – attended the event which took place in outside in the main square.

The Spanische Hofreitschule, or Spanish Riding School was created in the 16th century when Archduke Fernando I of Hapsburg, brother of King Carlos I of Spain, took several Pura Raza Española horses – Spanish thoroughbreds – and a team of trainers back to his native Austria.

This was recreated for the anniversary show with four riders and 10 horses transported from Jerez to Vienna where they performed drill rides, advanced dressage and in-hand displays to 3,187 spectators.

Back in 1565, the original Pura Razas were bred with Arabs and the now-extinct Neapolitan horses to create a complete new 'Austrian' breed, known as the Lipizzaner, which are usually grey like the Pura Razas tend to be but are often slightly smaller, typically 14.2hh to 15.2hh.


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