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lipizzan

The ancestors of the Lipizzan can be traced to approximately A.D. 800. The predecessors of the Lipizzan included desert horses that were brought into Spain from North Africa and crossed on native Spanish horses, creating breeds such as the Andalusian and other Iberian horses. By the 16th Century, when the Hapsburg Empire ruled both Spain and Austria, a powerful but agile horse was desired for both military uses and for use in the fashionable and rapidly-growing riding schools for the nobility of central Europe. Therefore, in 1562, the Hapsburg Emperor Maximillian II brought the Spanish horse to Austria and founded the court stud at Kladrub. In 1580, his brother, Archduke Charles II, established a similar stud in 1580 at Lippiza (now spelled Lipica), located in modern-day Slovenia), whence the breed obtained its name. Kladrub and Lipizza stock were bred to the native Karst horses, and succeeding generations were crossed with the old Neapolitan breed and horses of Spanish descent obtained from Spain, Germany, and Denmark The studs also imported more Spanish horses, as well as Neapolitans from Italy, as the years went on. While breeding stock was exchanged between the two studs, Kladrub specialized in producing heavy carriage horses, while riding and light carriage horses came from the Lippiza stud. In 1735, Charles VI established the Spanish Riding School and recorded the bloodlines of the Lipizzans. He also built a winter riding hall in the imperial palace in Vienna, which is the home of the Spanish Riding School today. The Spanish Riding School, though located in Vienna, Austria, takes its name from the original Spanish heritage of both its horses and its riding techniques. Beginning in 1920, the Piber stud, near Graz, Austria, became the main stud for the horses used in Vienna. Breeding became very selective, only allowing stallions that had proved themselves at the Riding School to stand at stud, and only breeding mares who had passed rigorous performance testing.

The Lipizzan, or Lipizzaner (Slovene Lipicanec), is a breed of horse closely associated with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria where the finest representatives demonstrate the "high school" movements of classical dressage, including the highly advanced "airs above the ground." The Lipizzan breed dates back to the 16th century, when it was developed with the support of the Habsburg nobility. The breed takes its name from one of the earliest stud farms established, located near the Kras village of Lipica (spelled "Lipizza" in Italian), in modern-day Slovenia.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lipizzan".