Winter Riding School or Spanish Riding School (Vienna)

Winter Riding School or Spanish Riding School (Vienna)


Tel. 01- 533 9031
Open: for performances
Closed: for public holidays


Description of Winter Riding School or Spanish Riding School of Vienna

Winter Riding School or Spanish Riding School (Vienna)

Winter Riding School or Spanish Riding School of Vienna was constructed in 1729- 35 under supervision of Josef Emanuel Fischer von Erlach. However the origins of the riding school date back to 1572 when Spanish Riding School was found in order to cultivate haute ecole horsemanship. First horses capable of dancing were brought from Span along with masters who took care of them. Under Habsburgs the Spanish Riding School or Spanische Reitschule flourished. Today you can see their routine by watching 80 minute show.



The institution that houses it is older than the building. The “Spanish” in its name derives from the horse breed native to the Iberian Peninsula, which proved to be particularly capable of the classical art of riding.

At the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th centuries, the high school was reborn. It spread relatively quickly across Europe and found its natural centers above all at the royal courts, where a venerable chevaleresque tradition and a highly developed sense of the ceremonial and ceremonial influenced school riding favorably. This not only applies, but primarily to the Kaiserhof in Vienna, which combined threads of its own kind with the Mediterranean region, which is so important for classical equestrian art. One Habsburg wore the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, another resided in Spain and was at the same time Mr. Napoli, and between them and their countries there was a constant exchange of goods of an ideal and material, economic, cultural and also equestrian nature.

One thing is important in the history of the Spanish Riding School. During the reign of Joseph I and Charles VI, the “Reut-Schul” was a natural facility and therefore not particularly worth mentioning. The fact that she had been around for a long time and had wonderful stallions was nothing unusual. Neither chief trainer nor stable master in this century has published his teachings or has otherwise been made public. There was no pluvinel or Löhneyßen, no Newcastle or Solleysel at the Wiener Hof. Only the emperor and his chief stable master represented the riding culture. The handwritten "directives" of a superintendent only served the scholars for training. No specialist pushed between the emperor and the subject of his interest. Absolutism at the Vienna Court, unlike others, prevented specialists from coming to the fore. Riding facilities were a matter of course at all the aristocratic farms, and horse washes were artistically designed. In the ruler's sphere of influence, the stables and riding arena were placed on an equal footing with the palace. The term "castle of the steed" was rightly used.

Ferdinand I
Ferdinand I (1503–1564), who grew up in Spain, stayed with his aunt and regent Margarete in Brussels and Mechelen from 1518 to 1521 and came to Vienna in 1521, introduced “Gineten” (Andalusian) in Prague and Vienna. He had stables built at Prague and at Vienna Castle. For this, Ferdinand I also had a planta de la traca de la cavalleriza, i.e. a plan for the construction of a stable (riding stable), sent from Spain.

Ferdinand deployed Spanish followers primarily in all areas related to horses, hunting and animal breeding. Juan Maria (?), Of whom it cannot be said with certainty whether he was a Spaniard, was commissioned by Ferdinand I in 1533 to found a “Dutch” stud in Himberg. Juan Maria ran the falcon farm, where Neapolitan horses were bred, until 1541. That year Pedro de Rada, who was almost certainly a Spaniard, became the new manager and ran it until his death in 1549. This stud farm became 1543, maybe only temporarily moved to Podiebrad in Bohemia. Neapolitans stood in Gahling (Máriakálnok) under the crown rule of Hungarian-Altenburg Queen Mary (1538). The stud, which was moved to Halbturn in 1540, was taken over in 1553 by Maximilian II, who later moved to Mönchhof.

So Spaniards and Spanish horses were significantly involved in horse breeding in Vienna. The horses of the royal stable did not come exclusively from Spain. In Spain it was not always possible to meet the high demand. Transport was expensive and risky, and costs and food had to be taken care of during the trip. It was cheaper to bring horses to Austria by land and from nearby areas. It can be learned from various invoice documents that "a number of Neapolitan pherdt money is to be ordered". In addition to horses from Naples, Ferdinand I also had “Turkish phardt” bought for the court in Vienna.


The cavalry also remained in Spanish hands for a long time. This is borne out by names from later years such as Luis Acarto, Antonio and Bartolomé Moreto and Juan de Salazar. Thus, since the time of Ferdinand I, one can speak of a Habsburg Spanish riding tradition, and not only from the 17th century. Pedro de Rada was not only used as a rider, but also created a fish pond in Himberg in 1549.

Maximilian II
Archduke Maximilian, son of Emperor Ferdinand I, and then, from 1564, for over two decades, himself lord and sire of the empire, also attempted regular deliveries of Spanish horses from Vienna, be it from southern Italy or from Spain himself. His personal horses were first in 1551 in Vienna in Renngasse. The conversion of the stable castle, which was built according to Spanish plans as a residence for Ferdinand I in 1560 but was never used as such, took place between 1565 and 1569. Since then the Habsburgs' personal horses have been housed there.

First mentioned in 1565
In September 1565, a sum of money "to erect Thumblplatz in the garden in Burg alhie" will be used. This must be seen as the first mention of the later Spanish Riding School. The year 1572, which has always been cited so far, as the first recorded mention of the Spanish Riding School has to be corrected to 1672. In addition, the source speaks of a "spanning" or "spanish riding stable", not of a "riding hall". The institution is therefore older than previously thought.

This Thumblplatz extended on the site of today's Josefsplatz and its immediate surroundings. On September 20 of this year, the Vizedom for Austria under the Enns was ordered to pay a total of 100 guilders "to erect Thumblplatz in the garden at Purgkh alhie". It was an open riding and tournament track, which had to cause the need for a covered riding school in bad weather. Another file, dated January 30, 1593, talks about the harmfulness of the "Roß Dumbl Platz in the Hoflustgarten" and demands: "So in addition to the choice (Wall) ain stuckmaur, with 12 sleepers (fathoms) length and 5 sleepers high and 5 2 1/2 schuech dic Made, all Seulln at 6 schuch high are underpinned ... ". The elongated and narrow Thumblplatz is probably located in the city by the wall. Of course you couldn't make a lot of state with him, after all he was better than nothing. He ensured a more promising education in the sense of the high school, as this could be possible outdoors. The horses frolicking there around 1593 included horses from Kladrub and Mönchhof (later Halbthurn) but no horses from Lipica. In 1580 there was an event that had a significant impact on the history of the imperial riding school, when Archduke Karl of Inner Austria founded the Lipica farm stud. But the horses from the Lipica stud farm were still bred exclusively for the farm in Graz.

Leopold I
In 1641 and 1642 a constructional combination of riding school and treasury was considered. At that time, the court building clerk Frischhauser calculated the construction of a treasury "with two arches over the riding school at Tumblblaz" on 22,820 guilders and 22 cruisers. But the project fell into the water, and it was only when Emperor Leopold I ruled his inheritance and the empire that things began to flow in terms of a permanent home that was closed on all sides for the imperial riding school. Under this richly gifted Habsburg ruler, not only was the foundation laid for the music and theater city of Vienna, but also the magnificent carousels and those equestrial performances that were already en vogue under the name of horse ballets at Italian courts, but now shining in Leopoldine Vienna and wasteful equipment have been far surpassed. Such a horse ballet was shown on the inner Burgplatz on the occasion of the wedding of the emperor to the Spanish infanta Margareta Theresia on January 24, 1667, and perhaps for the first time in Vienna human music was the rhythm of the horses.

On August 20, 1672, the castle captain of Ebersdorf was instructed "to have the imperial court Pau clerk at their disposal, to be repaid by various standt Seyln (pillars) in Spanish riding stables and a dozen and twenty other stamens (logs of wood)". For the first time the expression Spanish Riding Stable appears in this document.


More important than the open-mindedness for theatrical sensual pleasures, however, was that Emperor Leopold decided to have a new riding school built "in Vienna on Tumelplatz". Thus, on July 31, 1681 – almost exactly one hundred years after the foundation of the court stud in Lipica – the imperial order to the court paying office "to prosequirung of the bow on the Tumblplatz Alhier ended so the Made rollover after itself zusamben on 44.304 fl. 30 kr. to belauffen“. The act is accompanied by a letter from the court architect Johann Philipp Quenzer to the court chamber, from which it emerges that the old riding school on the Tummelplatz "had already completely perished". According to the estimate of 27 July 1681, which was also received, the new building was to be 46 fathoms long and 6 fathoms wide and have "two stöckh". The ground floor was intended for the riding school, while the first floor was devoted to the court library.