By JAMES TOZER
A white lipizzaner Stallion performs during the Spanish Riding School of Vienna Gala Performance at Wembley Arena
Like Pegasus without the wings, the magnificent horse flies effortlessly through the air.
Indeed, it seems as if the long reins held by its handlers are all that is stopping it soaring out of the arena.
This is one of the celebrated white Lipizzaner stallions being put through its paces in a move known as the capriole.
The highly trained riders and horses of the 430 year old 'High School for classical horsemanship' are based in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna
Literally meaning ‘goat’s leap’, it requires the stallion to jump into the air and kick out with its hind legs before landing.
Two horsemen control it with long lines while gently guiding its movements with a ‘lunge whip’.
Another stallion, pictured right rearing with its hind hooves off the ground, shows the extraordinary control of rider over animal.
Visiting London for the first time in five years, the Spanish Riding School of Vienna is once more thrilling crowds with its astonishing combination of grace and athleticism.
The institution has been a favourite of royalty since it was set up more than 460 years ago. Our own Queen is a lifelong fan – and among the few women to have been allowed to ride one of the thoroughbreds.
She was only a year into her reign when she was allowed to take the reins of a horse called Pluto Theodorasta during a visit by the riding school to London.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
By JAMES TOZER