When they are approximately 4 years old, the Lipizzaner stallions leave their birthplace Piber and travel to Vienna to the Spanish Riding School where they are subsequently trained according to the principles of classical horsemanship. This is a famous local event in Piber and all of the local community comes to watch the stallions leave their alpine pastures, and be walked down the mountain trail in hand. Before they embark on their journey, it is traditional to tie flowers to the horses head to wish them good luck. The walk down the mountain takes approximately 5 hours.
Forward riding/backing, (also called straight riding) happens during the first year of training, where a young horse is taught to be saddled and bridled, started on the lunge, and then ridden in an arena on straight lines, to teach correct responses to the rider's aids while mounted. The main goals during this time are to develop free forward movement, riding in as natural a position as possible.
The first priority of a Lipizzaners training is in no way different to that of any other horse and can be summed up as the pursuit of obedience, suppleness, responsiveness and ease. Lipizzaners are not only frugal, strong and particularly well suited for the art of classical horsemanship; they are intelligent and have an exceedingly good memory. These are all qualities that the trainer should know and make use of in his work with the horse.
It is important that the natural willingness of the stallions is nurtured, and as such they are only worked lightly in the school for 30 minutes and always have one day off a week. They go on rotation to the summer stables every 3 months, where they can enjoy some simple hacking on a long rein through the woods, and a good roll in the paddocks where they are turned out. During this time they are not schooled/trained so that they have a complete break. In addition to this they also have 2 complete holidays per year where they are not ridden at all.
TRAINING THE STALLIONS
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