Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I've wanted to see the Lippizaner stallions at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna ever since I knew that they existed - which would have been some fifty years ago, when our family friends Gwen and Claude gave me a (French) picture book about the stud. We're not here at a time that coincides with any of the formal performances, but we went to the Morning Exercises this morning, and then on a tour of the stables this afternoon -here's the tack room - nb the little horses' heads, and also the creamy white saddles, made of buckskin - made to measure when the horses are fully trained, around ten years old. They are shorter than I'd realized - around fifteen hands - and totally full of intelligence and muscle and compressed energy. Women riders have been admitted since 2008 - it's such a good job this wasn't the case back in the 1960s, since the ideal height is 170cm, and I only ever made 156 ... that could have broken my eleven year old heart.

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