From PBS – At the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Lipizzaners and their riders have been keeping audiences in thrall for centuries. The school is a unique and elite university, where horses train for years to successfully execute supremely difficult maneuvers. Only a very few will master the artistic and athletic skills required to perform in this ancient court of kings. Those that do earn the right to sire the next generation of stars. The legendary breed can be traced back to the remarkable war horses the Moors of North Africa brought with them when they conquered Spain in 711. A successful fusion of Moorish and Iberian cultures led to a stunning new breed of horse — the Spanish horse — which became a highly-coveted showpiece in the stables of the aristocracy. From these bloodlines, the Austrian Hapsburg Archduke Charles created his own noble breed of horses — the Lipizzaners. Spend backstage time with the riders and their horses, the mares and their foals, learn the secrets of the school and its traditions, and marvel as horse and rider transform what was once a weapon of war into a living work of art.
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