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Has anyone visited The Spanish Riding School?

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  • Has anyone visited The Spanish Riding School?

    Just what the title says. I would love to hear your stories. Did you go to a weekend performance, or a morning exercise to music? Do they allow you to just walk around the facility and see the horses?
    Also maybe a little about what else in Vienna you did
    It's one of my dream vacations. Won't happen for a long time since I'm a broke college student, but a girl can dream...(and have it perfectly planned out for when she does go ).
    Katie

  • #2
    I went to Lippizza, one of the stud farms in Yugoslavia. I don't know if it still exists, it was bombed during the war there in the 90s.

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    • #3
      I went to the SRS in February 2008. I was only in Vienna for two nights midweek, so I was able to watch a morning training session. I went with another horsey American friend. The horses and riders and trainer were very very cool to watch. The building itself is amazing. Most of the crowd were non-horsey tourists, so they chattered a lot and most left after the first half hour or forty minutes, so then my friend and I were able to walk down and find a space to watch from the lower gallery *right at C*. How cool is that? Sitting above the arena allowed us to watch the horses nd riders as they worked on the rail displaying perfect straightness. Now we have a goal to aim for ; )

      In the afternoon we returned for the stable tour. The tour is offered in German or in English. The barns were immaculate and it was very nice to see the Lippis snoozing and chill. The guide who lead us through the stable was a knowledgeable horseperson.

      Our only disappointment in Vienna was the condition of the carraige horses in the city streets. We had just come from Prague, where we were utterly impressed with not only the condition of the horses (well fed, well shod, blanketed appropriately during rain and snow) but also the class of horse; both the ponies and horses were of the type that could step into a ring for any discipline and not embarass themselves. In Vienna however, a city which supposedly prides itself in its horses, although the SRS was wonderful, the other working horses in the city were skinny, ill-shod, and in a few cases flat out lame.

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      • #4
        I visited the original Spanish Riding School in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. You could tour the stables (beautiful!), watch them school in the outdoor rings, and then see the official show. Like BlueSkye's experience in Vienna, many of the spectators were non-horsy and chattered. But totally worth it!
        ...somewhere between the talent and the potato....

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        • #5
          I visited the SRS during summer, when the horses were on vacation. Doh! But I did get to tour the museum, which was very cool.

          Lots of other amazing things to do in Vienna, BTW. It's one of my all-time favorite cities.

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          • #6
            While you're dreaming, can I dream with you? My grandparents have relatives in Vienna and as a kid, I was always very chagrinned that they never took me along when they crossed the pond to visit the SRS. Never mind the great aunts and second cousins I've never met! I was only interested in the horses. They brought me back a small porcelain figurine from the SRS of a Lippizaner doing a levade and it's one of my favorite sentimental knick-knacks.

            On a European horsey themed vacation, I have heard from my sister (who did a study abroad year in college) that the Living Horse Museum in Chantilly, France is a must see. It used to house the French royal family's horses before ol' Louie lost his head.

            BES
            Proudly owned by 2 chestnut mares
            Crayola Posse: sea green
            Mighty Rehabbers Clique

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            • #7
              Originally posted by fourmares View Post
              I went to Lippizza, one of the stud farms in Yugoslavia. I don't know if it still exists, it was bombed during the war there in the 90s.
              The lady who lead our stable tour at the Vienna SRS told us that yes indeed the stuf farm is still in Lippizza. They are also open for tours and I was told that you can actually go trail riding there on Lippazaners.

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              • #8
                I lived in Vienna in 1999-2000. Went to the morning practices several times - you just line up outside the doors to the school and buy a ticket when they open. I'd suggest getting there at least an hour early! There's a museum/bookstore associated with the school, too. Watching the schooling is great - they have everything from just-started young stallions to the schoolmasters, and you get to see so much more than in the performances. You just have to put up with the obnoxious tourist chatter, but as a previous poster said, most of them move on before too long and the end of the schooling session is pretty quiet!

                Other things to do in Vienna... well, there's the music. Standing room at the Staatsoper or most concerts is very cheap - just a few Euros. Lots of museums, etc. I was there writing a thesis on opera history, and saw an awful lot of great opera very, very cheaply (wearing comfortable shoes!). If you want to go, you really can do it on a student budget; the flight will probably be the most expensive part of the equation. An international student ID will get you into most museums, etc. for a reduced rate.

                Some of the carriage horse companies take great care of their horses; some do not. I rode for a man who took ex-carriage horses and tried to make a buck by having them started under saddle and reselling them (not a nice guy or a great riding situation, but there aren't a whole lot of riding situations to be had there when you have to rely on public transportation!). His stables were next door to the stables of a carriage horse operation, and while some of the horses had funky conformation and were definitely fit working horses (i.e., not fat), they were all well-groomed, well-shod, and well-fed, and even got a bit of turnout on their day off. The ones I started under saddle had been well cared-for, but were definitely lacking in the manners department...

                Feel free to PM me if you'd like more specific recommendations or info!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I saw a morning training session 10 years ago. I tried to get tickets for a performance, but they were sold out months in advance. (That was in the days before the internet, and it was harder to buy tickets from the US, although you still can't buy tickets for the training sessions online; you have to buy them in Vienna.) There was a long line of people waiting to get in, and when the doors opened it was crazy. We ended up way up top, standing for the whole thing. It was worth it though. Unfortunately, the other times I was there, it was summer and they were on vacation, so we toured the museum. I've also been to the stud at Piber. I enjoyed that.

                  If you do get to go to Vienna, and really want to see a performance, plan your trip around the performance schedule; there aren't that many performances and tickets can be hard to get. It is much easier to get tickets for a training session.

                  Vienna is absolutely beautiful, and so is the rest of Austria. I love Salzburg (which is about 160 miles from Vienna) and there is a tack store there that I have visited. In the cities you have the usual assortment of beautiful cathedrals, shops, restaurants, coffee houses, etc. In the country the scenery is absolutely beautiful -- mountains, lakes, green hills. I love visiting Austrian, but then I'm a little biased, as that's where my mother is from.

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                  • #10
                    I visited Austria about ten years ago. While in Vienna we went to a training session as the tickets were sold out for the performance. We got a seat by the rail and I enjoyed it. My pics were blurry as you couldn't use a flash. I don't know if they let you tour the stables back then - I would have done it if I'd known about it! Funny thing is a few years ago we saw the SRS perform in the states and we recognized some of the riders.

                    Later in our trip we visited the Piber stud. I really liked that as you get to see the horses up close and see what their daily routine is like. The mares and foals all spend the night together in a giant indoor! Then they take the lead mare out to the grazing fields and all the rest of the mares and foals follow. Really cool.

                    I also went to Salzburg and liked it so much better than Vienna. We went on The Sound of Music Tour, which was cheesy but fun. I recommend getting a car and driving through the Alps. The countryside surrounding Salzburg is absolutely amazing! Have fun!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I was in Austria in 1995. My sister & I were able to score the last two tickets to a performance. She's not at all horsey & loved it.

                      We didn't do a tour of the stables, but I'd recommend doing everything you can.

                      For other things to do, check out the Hundertwasser musuem, Schonbrunn palace, the Kapuziner crypts (imperial crypt of the Hapsburgs), and the flea market.

                      We were in Salzburg as well, and I second everything that's been said. We had a really funny guide for the Sound of Music tour. Go to Hellbrunn palace.

                      I can go thru my travel log & recommend other places in both cities, if you PM me.

                      Would love to go back, but other continents beckon...
                      Last edited by rivenoak; Aug. 19, 2009, 08:26 PM.
                      ~ Horse Box Lovers Clique ~

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                      • #12
                        Oops, a mini hijack

                        Originally posted by BlueEyedSorrel View Post
                        On a European horsey themed vacation, I have heard from my sister (who did a study abroad year in college) that the Living Horse Museum in Chantilly, France is a must see. It used to house the French royal family's horses before ol' Louie lost his head.

                        BES
                        Yes! The museum there is AMAZING, as are the stables. The whole place was built by a duke who thought he would come back as a horse in his next life. I would totally love to be a horse in those stables!
                        They have shows there too, but not while I was there. Also a possibility are the races at Chantilly. We got to walk all over the track, which was really cool to me.

                        And, uh, Vienna...thought about going there this summer. Going to a non horse place instead

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                        • #13
                          I was in Vienna about 30 years ago for several days. During that visit I had one of the best days of my life. In the same day I saw the Lippizans and heard the Vienna Boys Choir. I ended the day at the Hotel Sacher and had a torte. I will never forget that day; thanks for helping me remember it.
                          Last edited by trafalgar; Aug. 20, 2009, 01:07 AM. Reason: spelling

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Etoile View Post
                            Yes! The museum there is AMAZING, as are the stables. The whole place was built by a duke who thought he would come back as a horse in his next life. I would totally love to be a horse in those stables!
                            They have shows there too, but not while I was there. Also a possibility are the races at Chantilly. We got to walk all over the track, which was really cool to me.

                            And, uh, Vienna...thought about going there this summer. Going to a non horse place instead
                            I went to Chantilly and it is beautiful. However, I enjoyed the training sessions and the show at the Versailles Stables much much more. The show at Chantilly was really an introduction to riding, showing how a rider uses aids, etc. They have other shows at certain times, but Versailles is truly beautiful.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Blueskye - My mom got to trail ride in Lippizza. She did learn the after the first day not to ask for a white horse since the one that they gave her was about a million years old and spent much of the ride snoozing while she kicked. The second day she got a much younger horse and went out with a bunch of Italian guys who pretty much galloped the whole ride... she was so sore the third day that she could barely get out of bed, let alone ride... I was too little to be allowed to ride the Lippizzaners, so I had to be content with the Bosnian Ponies.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I've been to the riding school in Vienna several times and highly recommend getting tickets to the practice sessions. It's fun to watch them school the horses.

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                                • Original Poster

                                  #17
                                  Wow thanks for all the great replies! When I go I'll definitely make sure to get there early to get some good seats. I'll probably be going with non horsey people so I hope they don't want to leave after 40 minutes
                                  Thanks for the info on things to do outside of the SRS, it sounds like an extremely worthwhile destination! And I'm super excited to hear it's doable on a student budget. Now you've got me thinking...
                                  Katie

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I've been to Vienna several times, the first as a college student over 40 years ago! Check to see if they still have student hostels there. My friend and I stayed in student hostels all over Europe. You used to need an international student ID to stay in them. At that time the horses were on vacation at the SRS but they let you wander through the stables and there were a few horses there. However, you can't do that any more, but the guided stable tour is pretty good.

                                    I would get tickets on-line to an SRS performance and then book your flights. Do this several months in advance, especially if you want really good seats to the performance. When we are there, we usually go to morning training every morning that we can (i.e. dressage junkies). There are also presentations (called Privatissimum) which show you how the horses and riders are trained. If you can get to one of these, do it! I don't know how frequently they have them.

                                    Another horsey thing - go to Schoenbrunn palace and visit the carriage museum (Wagenburg). They have all the imperial harness and carriages along with old horse paintings, bits, etc. A tour of the palace is also interesting and you can spend hours wandering around the gardens. The zoo is also on the palace grounds.

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                                    • #19
                                      Many many moons ago, I was taken to Europe for my graduation present. I was lucky enough to see the morning stables, the morning work out and an evening show.
                                      During stables I was allowed to feed one of the stallions a piece of maple sugar candy, Canadian Eh!!

                                      I was allowed beind the iron curtain to the Phiber stud. Loved the babies.

                                      I definitely recommend going to the morning workouts or an evening show. There are not alot of places I bother to see twice, but if I every go back, that will be one of them.

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