City of horses
In September the international horse show Vienna Masters 2012 will turn the Rathausplatz into a meeting place for the riding elite and horse enthusiasts.
Horses are simply part and parcel of Vienna – one need think only of the white stallions of the Spanish Riding School or the horse-drawn carriages (‘Fiaker’) seen all over the city during the tourist season. This month the Global Champions Tour, possibly the most prestigious show jumping series in the world, will be visiting Vienna for the first time. The Rathausplatz in front of the City Hall will be transformed into a top-class riding arena in which 200 horses and 100 riders will compete for four days in sixteen competitions. Prize money worth 600,000 euros makes the Vienna Masters one of the richest tournaments in the world.
Discipline and commitment
The highlight of the Vienna Masters 2012 is the CSI 5* tournament, featuring one of the most difficult and prestigious show jumping courses that there is. The best horse and rider team will receive the Grand Prize of the City of Vienna.
Art, culture & show
Apart from show jumping and dressage, the Vienna Masters will also feature a celebrity riding competition, charity and cultural events with renowned artists from the world of classical music, theatre, dance and film. The Spanish Riding School will also be there. This unique riding institution, the oldest one in the world where classical equitation has been practised in its purest form and at the highest level for over 430 years, will present its programme in the open air.
The “white ballet”
After their well-earned summer break, the Lipizzaner stallions of the Spanish Riding School have already started their new season. The “white ballet” once again invites visitors to the morning exercises and classical performances where eight stallions demonstrate levade (lifting the front legs), courbette (jumps on the hind legs) and other skills. Daily guided tours also offer a look behind the scenes.
Vienna Masters: 20–23/Sep/2012. Wiener Rathausplatz. www.viennamasters.at
Spanish Riding School programme: www.srs.at; visitor centre: 1., Michaelerplatz
All about horses
The ‘Fiaker’, a normal mode of transport in the 18th century, is now one of Vienna’s distinctive features. A carriage ride is a bit like travelling back in time to Austria’s imperial past. The coach drivers also usually have a few interesting stories to tell. Carriages can be found at Heldenplatz, Stephansplatz, Albertinaplatz and the Burgtheater.
What would equestrian sport be without the opportunity to bet on it? At the Krieau trotting track, which opened in 1878, horses and riders will once again be competing on a new track from 16 September.
INFO: 2., Nordportalstrasse 247 (underground line U2, Krieau or Stadion station)
Even more horses
The series continues in Vienna in November, when the Stadthalle will be the venue of the Vienna Horse Festival. Top riders and horses from all over the world will demonstrate their skill at show jumping and dressage. A special children’s day will also help the youngest visitors to overcome any fear they might have of these noble beasts.
INFO: 9–12/Nov/2012. 15., Vogelweidplatz 14. www.wiener-pferdefest.at; www.stadthalle.at