Spanish Riding School, Vienna
ABOVE: Spanische Reitschule, Wien.
A visit to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna tends to be a love-it-or-hate-it experience: to some, it represents the pinnacle of equestrian performance; to others, the spectacle of horses prancing about on tiptoe is downright strange.
Vienna: The Rough Guide quotes a scathing description of the Spanische Reitschule by Edward Crankshaw, who made these remarks more than 50 years ago:
Other writers have been more admiring. In The Book of Austria, published by the Österreichische Staatsdruckerei in 1948, Ernst Marboe wrote:
The Spanish Riding School occupies a number of buildings on the Michaelerplatz and the Josefsplatz by the Hofburg in central Vienna.
Performances take place in the Winter Riding School, shown in the photo above. The riding hall looks like an elegant ballroom--and, in fact, it has hosted royal balls and other fancy-dress events during its nearly 300-year history. Performance dates are listed on the official Spanish Riding School Web site (see next page), where you can order tickets online. Since the 80-minute performances are often sold out weeks or even months in advance, you should reserve seats or standing room as early as possible.
If you aren't able to attend a performance, you can buy tickets for the morning exercise sessions between 10:00 a.m. and noon on Tuesday through Saturday. Schedules vary by season, so check the Reitschule's calendar. (Children under 3 aren't admitted, and children from 3-6 are free.)
Other options include:
For more information, see the links on page 2.
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