Today’s Horse Facts: The Lipizzaner

The Lipizzaner is known for its “ballet” dressage movements.

Today’s Horse Facts: The Lipizzaner

Gorgeous Lipizzaner in Dressage

I doubt whether any of us have ever touched a Lipizzan horse, let alone ride one. This breed is most known as an expensive, world renowned show horse that is trained in Austria to perform “ballets.”

When I was a child, my mother bought me probably my most favorite horse book of all times, Marguerite Henry’s Album of Horses, first published in 1951. On page 66 through to page 69, Ms. Henry describes the Lipizzan horse. An absolutely gorgeous painting on page 67 by Wesley Dennis shows a Lipizzan performing the capriole, one of the “ballet movements” these beautiful animals are trained to do. As I read about the Lipizzans again and again, I would picture myself sitting in the saddle, dreaming of riding one of these fantastic white steeds. As a child then and as an adult now, I’m still dreaming and always will, for the riders of the Spanish Riding School Lipizzans are a chosen lot and are an exclusive group of which us average folk will never be included.

So let’s have our T/F quiz and see exactly how much you know about the world famous Lipizzaners. Here we go:

1. The Lipizzaner has its roots in Carthage from 2000 years back.

2. The “Lipizzaner” breed actually got its name in the late 1500s when Maximilian II, emperor of Austria, crossed Arabians and Spanish mares with Andalusian blood.

3. The word “Lipizzan” comes from the town of Lipizza near the Adriatic Sea, where the first Lipizzans were foaled.

4. All Lipizzans must be “white.”

5. Grey Lipizzan foals are always born dark and turn lighter when they’re older.

6. Lipizzans are usually between 14.2 hands and 16.1 hands.

7. You have to go to Austria to buy a Lipizzan.

8. The world famous Spanish Riding School horses that perform all over the world are really trained in Austria.

9. Only six-year-old Lipizzan stallions are trained at the Spanish Riding School.

10. One of the beautiful ballet movements is called the “piaffe,” when the Lipizzan prances in place.

Let me know if you got at least eight of these questions correct. If so, then you are a Lipizzan expert! Here are the answers:

1. T

2. T

3. T

4. F  This is false for two reasons. Lipizzans come in different colors of brown and black, and the “white” ones aren’t really considered “white.” They are grey.

5. T

6. T

7. F  There are Lipizzan breeders all over the world; however, there are only about 3000 registered Lipizzans.

8. T

9. F  Lipizzan stallions can start their training at the Spanish Riding School when they are four years old.

10. T

Lipizzaner Performing the Levade

So how much do you know about the dazzling white Lipizzaners? If you want to learn more, look up these other websites to check on additional facts about the beautiful breed:

Next time, we’ll take a ride to visit some Clydesdales.

Happy riding!