The main reason for us to go to Vienna were my birthday gift from hubby, something I’ve always dreamed about since I were a kid: to see the gala performance of the Spanish Ridingschool at Hofburg Palace.

No wonder I was jumping up and down of excitement when we went there and had a glass of Champagne before the performance were started. I was as bubbly as the Champagne – and giggly!

Every year they choose the best stallions for this fabulous performance, which has traditions dated back to as early as in the 16th century.

“The Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution in the world which has practiced for over 430 years and continues to cultivate classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the haute école”.

That my dear friends, translated to none-riders means unbelievable jumps and tricks with the horses that only an extremely trained horse with very good hereditary factors can manage. You can compare it to an elite gymnast in it’s best shape!

The performance may look like it’s easy to visitors that’s not into horse dressage, but it takes many, many years to train both the horses and the riders to reach this elite level.

Perhaps I love the Lipizzan horse a bit more than others because I’ve been a part time owner of a Lipizzan gelding for a couple of years, back in the mid 80′s.

He was such a wonderful, really ALIVE horse with a very bubbling positive, fun attitude, but also quite a challenge to ride sometimes!

The horses at Hofburg really got some nice space there and they were so wonderful, just have a look at this youngster I did manage to snap a photo of. Quite unusual stable too.


The Gala performance is in what must be one of the most beautiful riding hall in world, the “Winter Riding School” at Vienna Imperial Palace Hofburg – main entrance Michaelerkuppel.

This part of the building is called The Michael Wing and is from the 18th century. I was so blowned away by this simply fantastic architecture!


Some of the most powerful people in Austrian history has lived in Hofburg Palace, including the Habsburg dynasty, who ruled the Austro-Hungarian empire. Currently it serves as the residence of the President of Austria.

It once was the Habsburg’s winter residence, while Schönbrunn Palace was the summer residence. Not to miss is the fact that the Palace even was the birthplace of Marie Antoinette in 1755.

At the entrance of the building is the most exquisite portal. In the photo you can also get a feeling of how tall the building are.


It was very difficult to take photos there, not only because there were tourist crowds, but also because of all the horse carriages running through there – I almost got myself run over when taking this photo below.


Looking up at the ceiling may not be the wisest to do when you’re in the middle of the traffic…. *giggles*

In front of the Michael Wing is also long lines with horse carriages offering you a nice ride, though as always quite expensive I guess. We didn’t have the time to take a ride.

For me it’s such a wonderful sight that I only saw the horses and actually missed to take photos of some of the other details of the architecture and statues, since I only had eyes for the horses!


So, what did I think about Hofburg Palace and the Gala Performance of the Spanish Ridingschool then?

Was it worth the bother and above all, the money for the ticket? (Cost SEK 1563 ($258 / €170 where €15 was postage fee).

Yes, without doubt was it worth it and especially for me or anyone else that’s interested in horses! I also love how easy it was to book the tickets using online ticketing software as I wrote about in the post To book a cheap trip to Vienna.

The architecture and atmosphere of this building is amazing and the Lipizzan horses are truly outstanding.

I have to add though that I really don’t think that it was as much Gala over the performance – don’t take me wrong here – it was an excellent elite performance, just not as much glitter and festive as I did expect.

I’d suggest that they skip to call it Gala to not wake up false expectations.

The only negative thing made me very sad: unfortunately you’re NOT allowed to take any photos in there during the performance, not even without the flash. That’s why I only have one photo.

They watched me like hawks as soon as I just moved my camera a bit, I had harsh hawk eyes on me. I saw others that did shoot lots of photos, but never got corrected by the guards. My bad luck…

I can understand that the flashes can bother the horses if you’re in the very front row, but in my case I don’t think that they would even have noticed.

So I’ll have the performance only in my memory. For the rest of my life for sure, who can forget those wonderful moments?

See also the overview of Lifecruiser photoset of Hofburg Palace & Spanish Ridingschool (42 photos).

Lifecruiser Spanish Ridingschool

Other sources of information:

The Spanish Ridingschool
Piber Federal Stud
Hofburg Palace Wikipedia
Vienna Ticket Online


8 Comments on “Vienna: Spanish Riding School Performance Hofburg Palace”

    Puss in Boots said:

    Those horses are just beautiful and that is one thing I want to do, is visit the Spanish Riding School to see the Lipizzaner horses. I’ve heard they are so clever they almost seem to float!

    Puss in Bootss last blog post..I’m Recovering…


    I get to know about this horse riding at Hofburg Palace from a cartoon series. According to the cartoon, there is a secret passage for the horse to escape.

    Borneo Falcons last blog post..Love Earth Day @ Sibu

    Jeni Hill Ertmer said:

    Outstanding pics and post, my dear!

    TorAa said:

    It’s so wonderful. I wisk I was there.
    On January 1, we allways sees on TV some spectacular shows during the New Years (fantastic) concert from Wien/Vienna

    btw. My thoughts are still here. Hope U forgive me

    TorAas last blog post..From the Family Grave

    Lyndsay said:

    Your ship is cool! I’ve visited some cabins and decks, it’s cool!!! :cool: Keep it up! Happy Holidays!!!

    Lyndsays last blog post..How to Tell if a Guy is a Player?

    Ling said:

    Well, at least they didn’t lock you up for taking that one picture. They’re all magnificent. Especially the statues outside that giant entrance.

    DianeCA said:

    Wow the pictures are great and I would just love to have been there. I love horses, they are so graceful and beautiful! Sounds like a wonderful wish!!!

    DianeCAs last blog post..I’m back! Seasons greetings

    A. said:

    I was taken to the Spanish Riding School when I was on an exchange holiday in Vienna. I was aged 14 and “horse mad”. We had seats right up at the very top and I can remember leaning over the rail to see better. Like you, I was very slightly disappointed. It was excellent, but….

    A.s last blog post..Reflections

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