View Full Version : Dressage riders opinions, please, on the Lippizan show

Oct. 9, 2009, 08:01 AM
I went to see the "World Famous Lippizan" show the other night and I enjoyed it. It is the third time I have seen it over a number of years. I thought the horses all appeared more relaxed and softer in their bridles than in years past. I am not a dressage person so not really knowing all the fine points and I was wondering what you all thought of the correctness of the show, not actually the show itself since that is entertainmnet and we all know where that can go. (there were a number of geldings amongst the stallions!)

Oct. 9, 2009, 08:15 AM
Please be clear and appreciate that this show is just that. It's a show.

It's got nothing at all to do with the Spanish Riding School Lipizzaners and it's not dressage either.

That lot toured the UK several years ago but had to change their name here and make it very VERY VERY clear they were nothing to do with the world famous Spanish Riding School and had nothing at all to do with their Riders or Lipperzanners. They were also the subject of having to refund money to people who were misled and bought tickets thinking they were something else.

Mr Lashinksky is a showman and all round entertainer. He's not a dressage master! What he does is good family entertainment.

Some would say that he's piggy backing on the fame of the Spanish Riding School and their Lizzaners by calling his horses "The World Famous Lippezaners".

That's what happened in the UK and why his company had to pay back money to those who were misled.

I've seen them once and about 5 years ago and wasn't impressed at all. If they're better now and the horses are more relaxed then that can only be good.

However last photos and videos I saw wasn't that long ago and I wasn't at all thinking they were in any way near riding as the true classical riders at the SRS do.

Oct. 9, 2009, 09:41 AM
They have a new trainer (I've done lessons with him) and he's very good. While he's not a classical dressage trainer (he used to work for Medieval times) he is a good all-around horseman and has worked with some good riders. He is focusing on relaxation, and I am very impressed with what he's been able to do so far, although he's only been there for a year or so. I really like Gary - he's a showman, for sure, but he does hire good staff and take good care of his horses. The stallion we got from him was pampered, had excellent manners and had been turned out with other horses, and is an all-around good citizen.

It's a show, not dressage, and they would be the first to admit that. They train very hard, though, and the horses are amazing. One of Gary's horses, by the way, is with Michael Poulin, and he's very impressed with the horse.

As for the show, don't expect a dressage test, expect a show. It's not the SRS, but it's still pretty and amazing :).

Oct. 9, 2009, 10:12 AM
What Thomas said. It's fine if you're Joe & Jane Sixpack and the kids. For dressage peeps, it's disappointing.

Oct. 9, 2009, 10:23 AM
I must be either a Jane Sixpack or a kid at heart. I've always enjoyed the shows, mostly because I never get a chance to see a herd of Lipizzaners doing what they do best.

I am glad that their new trainer is better.

When they look for show riders, they hire dressage riders 4th level and above. As this group of riders grows in America, they will have a larger and better pool to choose from, so the riders should be getting better too.

I've had several friends who rode with the group (one of whom went on to become an upper level dressage trainer). He said, "nowhere else on the planet would I have the opportunity to ride so many tempi changes."

Couture TB
Oct. 9, 2009, 10:42 AM
I saw the show 2 years ago and I was disgusted. Riders flopping about, spurring their horses every stride, hollow backed horses, one even had some blood in the corners of his mouth from how tight his curb was being pulled. The in hand work was no better. I hope they have changed trainers. It was some of the worse riding and training that I have seen. Even my husband who is a greenie for the horse world couldn't stand it.

Oct. 9, 2009, 10:52 AM
Ditto the negatives, adding that some of the horses weren't quite sound.

Oct. 9, 2009, 02:29 PM
It is a hard life for these horses - constant travelling and changes. They come here quite often and I go and see them where they are stabled. They receive as good care as is possible considering their life. The RCMP horses have to travel a lot too. If a person is looking for professional level, WEG standard dressage they would be fooling themselves, but it is a show for the masses and also horse people. Some do have dropped backs though.

Oct. 9, 2009, 04:10 PM
also saw them on tour 5 years ago on this side of the pond.

First, I felt sorry for the horses. They were performing on hard, 1/2 inch thick fibreboard matts over concrete. I walked on the "arena" after the show and it was hard as a supermarket floor. How a horse can do leaps and airs on that without being concussed is beyond me. I forgave the unevenness of gaits in many of the horses due to the hard surface, but some did look quite uneven, not throw you out of the show ring lame, though.
Second the work often looked amateurish- the riding in the quadrille was easily surpassed by many of our local 2nd and up riders for the most part although there were 2 or 3 of the riders who looked the part.
Third, the work was often incorrect. The airs that were demonstrated were not done well, often hollow and inverted and not complete. The piaffes lacked sit, the passages lacked suspension and the lateral work in the quadrille was often leg yield and not half pass or renvers.
I did not see anything I would consider abusive. There were no spur marks, blood or incorrect fitting tack that was obvious. Some of the horses did look a little stressed at times, but mainly they seemed happy to do their jobs.

I took a bunch of horsey teens along with me and they got a little bored before it was over.

The RCMP Musical Ride does not purport to show advanced horsemanship skills and does a better job of entertaining, on better and more appropriate footing for the horses, when I've seen them perfom many many times.

Oct. 9, 2009, 06:27 PM
I think the show has improved recently, but the main thing for me is the horses always seemed to be very well taken care of. At one show I was at a few years ago, the horses were in full view while being groomed and cared for and tacked up. The grooms were absolutely quiet, gentle and deliberate. That did it for me. They take good care of the animals. Sure I'd like a real dressage show better, but the horses are safe and healthy and treated well.

Oct. 9, 2009, 06:44 PM
I ought to have added that I thought the footing left a heck of a lot to be desired and I'm convinced that was one of the reasons that I personally felt the horses might be so tense and uncomfortable.... and not sound!

Oct. 9, 2009, 07:23 PM
The footing IS bad, and the riders (and the trainers at home) complain about it often. No one is really happy about it, but it travels well (they have to haul it with them) and is better than what is available at most venues. They do rotate the horses out when they get sore or a bit tired of traveling - they have a lovely facility in Florida where they go out a lot and have good trainers and riders who work with them when they're off. That's where I've been and it's always been a very pleasant experience. It's not fancy (not some beautiful barn) but it's workmanlike and safe. That's kind of what I'd say about their whole setup - it's not ideal, but they do their best.

Oct. 9, 2009, 08:14 PM
A friend and I saw them last year in Northern KY. The crowd cheered when the head rider did flying changes every stride. Of course, what they did not see was that the horse was only doing changes in front. Not once did he switch behind. I guess that, because of the name of the show, I was expecting the dressage work to be more correct.

Oct. 9, 2009, 10:46 PM
Yup, Auburn, that's the sort of "Flying Change" they displayed last time I saw the show in Denver. (Not my idea -- the first time was enough!)

Oct. 9, 2009, 11:07 PM
Yeah, embarrassed to admit that I fell for the "famous Lippizzaners" thing and was very disappointed. I saw the flying change illusion and couldn't believe it. My husband even picked up on that and loudly told the spectators around us. Not a fun experience...

Oct. 9, 2009, 11:42 PM
there are several shows entitled World Famous Lippizzans. youll have to be more specific

Oct. 9, 2009, 11:43 PM
I'm surprised that real dressage people do not pick up on the difference between "Spanish Riding School" (Vienna), and US based World Famous Lipizzan show. It is entirely possible that some people who are marginal around the horse world would confuse the two - a fact that the show is fully aware of. They do share the same bloodlines, though - maybe all Lipizzaners do?

Oct. 10, 2009, 12:18 AM
I'm surprised that real dressage people do not pick up on the difference between "Spanish Riding School" (Vienna), and US based World Famous Lipizzan show. It is entirely possible that some people who are marginal around the horse world would confuse the two - a fact that the show is fully aware of. They do share the same bloodlines, though - maybe all Lipizzaners do?

I don't think anyone here is mixing up the two.

I had the pleasure of seeing the real SRS traveling show several times as a child and don't really have any desire to see any of the "knock-offs" now.

Oct. 11, 2009, 10:41 AM
All of what has been said here is true, but please consider: This show travels almost every day, sometimes a day of driving to the next event and training (horse and rider) and warm-up are rare luxuries to the road crew. Ask any great international dressage star to take his million dollar grand prix partner to a show every single day for eleven months straight - with no practice time, no turn-out, different water and feed in every town and make the human act as groom, stall mucker, equipment loader, hay bale stacker...I can go on! You would likely see the same lack of dressage basics. These riders do a fabulous job and most of their work is hard labor off the show stage. For forty years Gary has given aspiring trainers a chance to hone their skills under pressure while earning a reasonably steady paycheck and having a great tour of the country to boot. Keep buying tickets we need to keep this slightly flawed jewel in circulation!

Oct. 11, 2009, 12:48 PM
there are several shows entitled World Famous Lippizzans. youll have to be more specific

Are you sure?
The "World Famous Lippizzaner Stallions" is a copyright trademark for over 40 years and is the show originally started by Gary Lashinsky. Anything else will have a different name.

I forgot about the tempi changes in front only. Yes, those were featured in the show I saw.

As for footing, in our city we often have other special type shows that appear in the local built-for-a-hockey-rink arena. When they bring in the monster trucks or the dirt bikes, they truck in special "footing"- i.e. dirt and clay etc. They could easily do the same thing for the horses, couldn't they?

Oct. 11, 2009, 12:58 PM
The Hermann's over in Myakka have a touring group as well, but they're not affilated with Gary's group (and not the same name). I grew up with Gabriella Hermann (her father, Otto, and my dad, knew each other and we visited the ranch often) and I just saw her and her group over at Freedom Ride in Orlando. They train in Myakka and have a well-established ranch there (although from what I've heard they're having financial problems now). They also tend to do more charity stuff (like with the Freedom Ride people).

Oct. 11, 2009, 01:06 PM
I'm surprised that real dressage people do not pick up on the difference between "Spanish Riding School" (Vienna), and US based World Famous Lipizzan show. It is entirely possible that some people who are marginal around the horse world would confuse the two - a fact that the show is fully aware of. They do share the same bloodlines, though - maybe all Lipizzaners do?

Because of the way it is billed, it is not at all obvious unless you've seen the show or unless someone has told you about it. "World Famous" certainly suggests an international tour from the source of Lipizzan fame, not just some group with Lipizzan horses who decided to put on a show.

Dressage Dreamer
Oct. 12, 2009, 01:32 AM
Somebody mentioned about the bloodlines of the Lipizzaners, A handful of the horses performing are actually from the Piber stud and a few are Lipizzaner rescues Gary picked up over the years. When I rode with the show all were stallions except 3 that were castrated prior to joing the show. I can not speak of the current head trainer, however when I rode with them it was in company of some very talented riders who I greatly enjoyed working with. Please remember it is a show and the horses perform roughly the same rountine every night. Imagine how your horse would be after practicing a dressage test that many times. The horses are very clevel and get stale and know their part. Most of the best riding I had while with the show was on days when we worked on things outside of the shows! The footing is a bit hard to ride on,it is a recycled paper product, they do perform on dirt where permitted at outside venues. We would go in and out so quickly of venues I couldnt imagine the complications of bringing in dirt every night to each different venue, sure in an ideal world that would be awesome for the horses! One thing I can say about the show when I worked there is that each and every rider, groom and other person on tour (like our bus drivers) ADORE the horses. Each rider was assigned a couple of horses,rarely more then 2, and that was the same horse we took care of and handled for the most part. Their equine lives might be a bit abnormal but it is truly amazing what those horses can do.. they are very trusting and clever. after returning back to the real dressage world I had a completely new sense of what a horse really should be able to do and handle) like when one is spooky at a washrack and I think of the venues we took the lipizzaners into without a blink of an eye!