Lorraine Jackson’s bucket list, item #731: Watch a performance of the Lippizans at the Spanish Riding School. Check.
When one begins to emotionally prepare themself for crossing the Spanish Riding School off their list of life goals, there is a plethora of things to expect. You expect to see masterful control by the riders. You expect to see pristinely white Lippizans kicking some military dressage butt out there. You expect to spend an absurd amount of money, and avoid converting the euros to dollars in your head once you’ve got the ticket.
What I wasn’t prepared for was how moving and awe inspiring it was to sit in a crown-molded, chandelier-clad arena supported by marble columns and surrounded on all sides by ladies in ball gowns. This is how great horse performance was meant to be seen! It’s easy to get caught up in wearing the same pair of holey jeans and muck boots to the barn every day, and while that’s really how it ought to stay, it meant something to see someone in HIGH HEELS at a horse event.
I count my time in Vienna as some of the most luxurious and rewarding experiences of my life’s horse adventures, if only because it is so rare and so fulfilling to see the discipline I love so dearly be given such audacious respect by locals, horse people, and oblivious tourists alike.
I confess, crossing the Spanish Riding School off my list only compelled me to add one more: live in a world where every good-hearted horseman knows the joy of riding under a crystal chandelier. And sitting a capriole wouldn’t be too shabby, either.