SPANISCHE HOFREITSCHULE/VIENNA: Today IRMA is happy to invite you to the Fête Impériale in Vienna. The Spanische Hofreitschule has a great tradition which is renowned all over the world, and this year the institution will celebrate their first ball which will take place right at the venue. You have the chance to take part in IRMA’s raffle and win two tickets for the ball as well as one night at the famous Hotel Bristol in Vienna.
Fête Impériale 2015 will take place on Friday, June 26th, info at www.srs.at, and you just have to pack your most beautiful ball gown and the person you want to dance the night away with you.
So let me know what you think about Vienna (ends Friday, 19. June 2015), take part and enjoy!
I had a talk with rider Mr. Herwig Radnetter, who brought me into this glamorous world of the art of horseback riding and a very long tradition.
On a sunny Sunday morning in May I meet Mr. Herwig Radnetter at the Spanische Hofreitschule, which is located in the heart of Vienna in the Hofburg. It is great pleasure to watch the Morgenarbeit (morning exercise), listening to Strauss and Beethoven to begin a Sunday matinée. Everything looks as if it were the easiest and most natural thing on earth, and this feeling is exactly what makes me love this art of chevalrie.
Mr. Herwig Radnetter has been a rider since he was fifteen, he now also manages the stables and horses and while talking about his seven horses at the Hofreitschule he gives me a great insight look of an ancient art which celebrates its 450th anniversary this year.
IRMA: Mr Radnetter, how can I picture a day of yours working with the horses?
HERWIG RADNETTER: We work six days a week and each rider takes care of about seven horses, each of which are ridden and worked with for half an hour every day. Another half hour the horses are taken around, being walked and taken care of by special horse caretakers.
IRMA: What is so special about the Lipizzaner breed?
H.R.: Our work is all about developing the natural movements of the Lipizzaner. They love to move and they want to be challenged. That is why we take their steps and moves even further.
It is not about forcing the horse to do something which is unnatural but rather to work and challenge them to refine each step and their natural talent.
IRMA: And how do you make them to do what you want them to do?
H.R.: When working with animals you first of all have to be honest and true with yourself and with them. You cannot fool them because in the end they do what you want them to do because of you and not because of the audience. This is why we teach our young students to take everything step by step. We never rush from one phase into the other, we observe how much time each horse needs to learn one step, this is very individual. You cannot pretend, you have to be real.
IRMA: Did your work with the horses also influence your own personal life?
H.R.: Yes, of course. Working with animals makes you true and honest with yourself. You learn about patience, about yourself and you will always get something back from the animals which will tell you a lot about who you really are.
IRMA: During the morning exercise on Sunday you play Bach and Beethoven. Does music influences the horses?
H.R.: Not in particular, although you have some horses that react more to music than others. But when we work with the horses without an audience we sometimes even play the Stones or Sting, they love it. It seems to me that sometimes the music keeps them going, just like with humans.
The horse in general as well as the rider are working very concentrated and nothing else should distract them from riding and working.
IRMA: What happens to the horses once they get old and stop performing at the Hofreitschule?
H.R.: They will spend the rest of their lives at the Bundesgestüt Piber outside of Vienna. Even the horses who are still performing will have a three-month vacation every year at Piber. We are very concerned about their well-being because like this we will make the most out of their lives and the tradition of the Spanische Hofreitschule.
IRMA: Does it mean that they live such a healthy lifestyle that they do not even need a vet?
H.R.: Yes, of course. We make sure that they eat the first cut of hay all day long. Horses eat about 15 to 17 hours a day, they need to have a constant movement in their digestive system. We move the animals so they are not only standing, like this we have very view colics which is good and a sign for a healthy lifestyle in our stables.
IRMA: How about you staying healthy and fit?
H.R.: I go running and take care of myself. I also have two horses privately which I ride together with my wife and children and I try to work as precisely as I can. Actually horseback riding is very healthy for your back and bones, as long as you do it right.
My goal is to be a rider as long as possible.
IRMA: Thank you, Mr. Radnetter. It was a pleasure meeting you.