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Lipizzaner & Spanish Riding School: What to do? performance, guided tour or the am exercise

Planning our time in Vienna and we're planning on visiting the Spanish Riding school. There are a number of options available one of which is seeing the 70 min show which I've read is not worth it. The tickets are expensive but one option is standing room "seats" for €30 each. There are other ways to see the school, a morning exercise, or a guided tour of the stables. I'd love some input for those that have been there.

Thank you!

Posted by
1665 posts

Sue, since my Trail of Lippizan fell thru a couple years ago I didn’t get to go but my travel buddy and I planned to see both the training session (on our own) and the performance (as part of the tour). Think of it as a horse show: the warm-up arena is where you learn by watching the trainers, the class is to see the final product

Sorry, I had company stop by, didn’t mean to post an unfinished post.
As Emily said below, if you’re a dressage rider who appreciates the training, precision and discipline of the sport, I’m sure you will like both the schooling and the performance. It’ll be cheaper than April’s World Cup in Las Vegas. Although by FEI rules, the Lippizan performance with it’s haute ecole movements is not considered dressage. Vienna, Piber and Lipica are still on my bucket list.

Posted by
284 posts

Seeing the Spanish Riding School was a lifelong dream for me and I was finally able to do it last March. We chose to attend the Saturday morning exercise and it was very interesting with horses and riders of varying experience levels. We did not see any "airs above the ground" but I didn't care, as the other movements were just as enjoyable to watch. You can stay as long as you want and move around the gallery. We stood at first and then some seats opened up. We did not tour the stables. However, there is a courtyard with some stalls that is right next to the public way, so the next day I went back and hung out with the stallions there and took some pictures. Enjoy your visit!

Posted by
4698 posts

Are you a horse person? Do you understand dressage? If yes, then you will love the show. If no, you’ll be bored and regret you spent all that money.

Posted by
2436 posts

We enjoyed the morning exercises. I think of myself as a "horse person", but the performances just sounded a bit too touristy and expensive for me. Like somebody else mentioned, when the horses were being rotated in and out of the arena, we were able to see the courtyard area with horses looking out of their stalls.

I would have enjoyed a guided tour of the stables.

Posted by
1139 posts

I did exactly as Cynthia wrote. I'm not a horse person per se, but it was enjoyable to watch and glad I did it.

Posted by
671 posts

We have seen the morning exercises several times and took a guided tour of the SRS the last time we were in Vienna. I would highly recommend doing both. It is fun to see the young horses being trained. My wife is a "horse person" who does dressage. We have been to the Piber stud farm twice also. If you ever are near Graz, try to get there.

Posted by
11 posts

As others suggested, being a horse person who does Dressage, or uses some Dressage in riding, will give you an edge if you view the Lipazzan horses in action. Seeing the airs above the ground in performance is a real treat. If you have ever had a horse, you will appreciate, at some level, what must go into the training of these lovely athletes.

I have had horses all of my life, having ridden on our ranch as a child, and I trail-ride currently. I had never heard of Dressage when I first visited Vienna in 1972, but I knew that what the Spanish Riding School did with the Lipazzan horses was special. It is beyond Dressage.

I didn't get to see a performance at that time, but saw stallions in their stalls. I dreamed of going to a performance until 1983, when I finally got to attend one. It still brings tears to my eyes to remember it. My adult daughter has taken some Dressage, and I have learned enough to use some of it on the trail.

I have told my daughter about the wonderful performance that I saw years ago, and we are finally getting to do a trip to see these magnificent horses--together! This coming May, we have tickets to a GALA performance (if you are going to spend that kind of money, you might as well see the best performance!)

After viewing a training session, or attending a performance, I have a hard time imagining that you will not come home with special memories. I hope you do.

Posted by
2023 posts

We had the tour of the stables and it was worth it. Our group had around 12 people. They are very strict regarding petting or touching a horse-not allowed. It is possible to stand in front of stall with horse in it and have a pic taken.

Posted by
173 posts

For what it is worth, we really enjoyed the Stables Tour. It's only an hour but you get a good overview of how they train the horses/riders ect. And you do get to see the horses up close. We had a bonus in that it was summer and they led all the foals and their mamas out right in front of us as they took them out to the lawn to graze. I would go for a guided tour or morning exercise.

Posted by
3551 posts

I truly enjoyed the training session, memorable And well priced. I have also seen the performance, very costly but lovely. It might be a bit long and repetitive unless u are into dressage, however.

Posted by
243 posts

We have not been to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna but visited the Jerez riding school. Both my wife and I are definitely not horse people and we thoroughly enjoyed the performance, so much so that we wanted to visit the performance in Vienna on our upcoming European trip.

I do not think that you need to know the finer points of dressage to enjoy the performance. I would go to the performance.

Posted by
24 posts

Are you a horse person? If yes, do it ALL! If no, then it's kind of up to you to decide ... do you want to see riders practicing their moves or would you rather see the show with the fancy outfits and the music? Would you enjoy walking around the "stables" and learning more about the history? If you're not a big horse person, then just going to the morning exercise might suffice. That said, remember there won't be any explanations of what they're doing and it's informal, visitors in the viewing area come and go over the course of a few hours so you aren't committed if you're not into it. You can also can walk around and since it's not reserved seating, you can usually sit in some great spots along the sides. The formal show itself is expensive but if you want the history, the explanations, the costumes, then definitely the show. The stable tour includes learning more about the SRS, walking through the stable area, seeing the tack room. If you're not a horse person, I don't know how much interest you'd have in the stable tour. As a disclaimer: I'm an avid equestrian and I could have spent a lifetime in the SRS. My heart was leaping for joy and I had to pinch myself to actually be this famous riding school. I understand not everyone is quite as "horsey" so hopefully my comments are useful. Enjoy!