Denise Young

Dancing Horses Music

Dancing Horses Music Label is Inspired by the Royal Lipizzan Stallions

The History of the Lipizzan Stallions

Developed exclusively by the Hapsburg monarchy for its use during times of war and peace, the Lipizzan is the true horse of royalty. Four hundred years of selective breeding have made the Lipizzan one of Europe’s oldest breeds of horse. The Lipizzan’s historical and cultural development enhances its mystique. Physically capable of withstanding the demands of the Airs Above the Ground, this baroque mount was bred to perform haute ecole dressage at the Spanish Riding School and owes its survival to the intervention of American General George S. Patton during World War II.

Breed Origin

The Hapsburg family controlled both Spain and Austria when the art of classical riding revived in Europe during the Renaissance. There was a need for light, fast horses for use in the military and the riding school. The Spanish horse, produced during Moorish rule by crossing Berber and Arab stallions with Iberian mares, was considered the most suitable mount because of its exceptional sturdiness, beauty, and intelligence. In 1562, Maximillian II brought the Spanish horse to Austria and founded the court stud at Kladrub. His brother Archduke Charles established a similar private imperial studfarm with Spanish stock in 1580 at Lippiza (nowadays: Lipizza [Italian], or Lipica [Slovenian]) near the Adriatic Sea. Here on the Karst plateau near Triest the type of horse which was bred in Lippiza was called the Lippizaner. Today in Europe the breed is called Lipizzaner or, in America, Lipizzan.

Physical Characteristics

Lipizzans are genetically a type of grey. Born dark, black-brown, brown, or mouse-grey, Lipizzans gradually lighten until the white coat for which they are noted is produced somewhere between the ages of 6 and 10. The white hair coat has become dominant in the breed, and only now and then is a black or brown adult produced. As late as two hundred years ago, black, browns, chestnuts, duns, piebalds, and skewbalds were found in the adult herd. Noted for his sturdy body and proud carriage, the Lipizzan’ head is remarkable for its large appealing eyes and small alert ears. The body presents a picture of strength with a crested neck, powerful shoulders, muscular hind quarters, and strong legs with well-defined tendons and joints. Not an exceedingly tall horse, the Lipizzan averages between 14.2 to 15.2 hands.

The Spanish Riding School

Named after the early Spanish horses imported in the 16th century, the Spanish Riding School of Vienna is the oldest surviving institution of its kind in the world. Its primary purpose has remained the same through its history: to perpetuate the art of classical horsemanship in its purest form and transmit it from generation to generation. To this end, the School has used the Lipizzan exclusively as a horse capable of performing all the steps and movements of dressage, including the Airs Above the Ground -- the Levade, the Courbette, and the Capriole.