Written by  2018-02-06

Behind the scenes with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna

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Dear Classical riders,

Sinds my childhood, nothing was... is, more glorious to me than the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. As a young girl, I dreamed about becoming a Bereiter, but at that point, women were never enlisted. I always hear my grandfather's words: "In the Spanish Riding School you witness riding, all the rest is just sitting on a horse." 

Since 2016 I am one of the few lucky people on this planet to have lessons from a SRS Bereiter. That is already a dream come true, I realise. But last October, we visited the show of the SRS in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and we were invited to come and meet the imperial whites behind the scenes. We thought we'd share a bit of that magic with you! 

What struck me most, as did two other Equus Universalis instructors that were with my husband and me, namely Sylvie and Sandy van den Goorbergh, was how happy and relaxed the stallions were. Eventhough they were in a strange environment, with strange horses, mares even. They were so relaxed and curious and open. They just did not seem to get enough of human contact. And that my dear friends, tells you something important about the school and the stallions: The horses are happy, happy with their life and happy with their training. An other valuable point that proves that the school is still the olympic fire of classical equitation is the fact that most of the horses were 20+. Imagine that, these stallions perform these difficult and straining tasks with zest and ease up to 27. Only then do they go on a happy and fresh retirement. Not because they have to, but because they deserve it. Horses can become 40, so why should they have to retire anything before 25? That would be like we humans, retire at 35 or 40. Is that not ridiculus? If your horse has to retire before the age of 25, you have to ask yourself what it is that you have missed. For sure accidents and ilnesses happen. But it should be normal for correctly trained horses to work fit and happy up to at least 25. That is the proof of why classical dressage is the one and only true natural way for horses. And, that can still be found, to this day, after more then 450 years, in Vienna.

Me having a tiny affair with Capriole professor Conversano Kitty. Sssst, do not tell Owen! (Yes this moment is right up there with my wedding day...)

I will be taking lessons again this year in March, June and October... But the hight of this year will be when I visit Vienna... of course I will make sure to be able to share with you peeps as well! For now, go behind the scenes with us in Rotterdam... 


With Classical regards,



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