The Spanish Riding School
My sister, my Mom and I galloped to the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. After side saddling a subway train, we arrived above ground surrounded by a huge church, horse drawn carriages, and ornate buildings. It was like nothing I had ever seen before! The gothic church of St Stephens towered over the neighboring buildings, with its carefully patterned tiled roof of green, black, aqua, yellow and white.
“Hold your horses,” Mom should have joked as we stopped to examine the map.
We walked for a few minutes and gladly collected our tickets at Will Call. Quickly climbing up two flights of stairs, our seats awaited us in the second gallery. Statues of knights and kings gallantly posed with their swords on either end of the ring. Sitting in our seats and leaning over the wide, chilly, and decorative stone railing, we observed as the enormous blue chandeliers rose up into the air and the first act began.
Six young Lipizzaners pranced out of the gate, wearing fancy saddles and reigns. The riders wore identical uniforms and each carried a birch wood crop. The horses did circles and exquisite sidesteps. Then, the second act opened and two horses came out. They did a duet in perfect synchronization. They danced pirouettes and a gait where they picked up their feet to a prance.
The next act was most exciting! The regal stallions performed high jumps and reared up with their riders on their backs and bunny hopped on their back legs. The crowd oohed and applauded as each horse took center ring. It was amazing!
Then the fourth act started. It was solo. Magnificently controlling the horse with only a switch of his hand, a man appeared with a horse, following behind it, directing with a pair of long reigns that were the length of the horse. The horse cantered and side stepped, like a professional performer.
The fifth and last act began with eight Lipizzaners with riders prancing in tidy lines and patterns in unison. As they crossed each new line , I knew it was a experience I would always remember. Spanish Riding School in Vienna was amazing. I had a blast.