While the exact origins of the Spanish Riding School (more properly known as "The Winter Riding School") are unknown, there is documentation that in 1565 one hundred guilders was appropriated to build a wooden "...open riding and competition arena..." on what is today known as Josefsplatz. In 1729, Emperor Charles VI ordered the construction of the more permanent Winter Riding School as part of the Hofburg Palace. The pseudonym "Spanish Riding School" derived from the Lipizzan horses that originated from Spain. In the 16th century, these horses were considered to be especially well suited for classical horsemanship.This is the oldest riding school in the world (450 years old) and is devoted to the Renaissance tradition of "haute ecole". This study of the way the horse naturally moves creates an unparalleled harmony between horse and rider, known as classical dressage. "The steps of horses and riders is part of a carefully orchestrated ballet" ( from the official description of the program). We were fortunate to be present during one of their daily practice sessions as they get ready for the 450th anniversary celebration later this year.
Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.