In 1970, Producer Gary Lashinsky created a new family arena attraction, starring The "World Famous" LIPIZZANER STALLIONS.
Many horses and riders were brought from Europe to perform in this unique family oriented arena attraction. Over the years, more than twenty-three million people throughout North and South America, Great Britain, Europe, Australia and Hawaii have seen this internationally acclaimed spectacle.
Music, choreography and routines have been incorporated in the Lipizzaner Stallions performance with a major emphasis on the historical background and foundation of the Lipizzaner breed, from its original breeding and use as a horse of war to a horse of nobility and aristocracy to a living form of equestrian art. The show emulates the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Austria, in its presentation of Lipizzans, and maintains a traditional as well as entertaining performance similar in many ways to what you would see at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna.
Also included in the performance is a segment called the "Airs Above the Ground." These are the spectacular leaps and maneuvers, once used by riders in saddle to protect and defend themselves on the battlefield, which are now preserved as an equestrian work of art. When you see the Lipizzans perform, it is like stepping back four hundred years and viewing one of the greatest equine ballets in history.
The Lipizzan is a rare and unique breed; its history and culture is known worldwide. The Walt Disney movie The Miracle of the White Stallions, depicting General George S. Patton saving them at the end of World War II from certain extinction, created an even greater world-wide interest in the Lipizzaner breed. Had it not been for Patton, there would be no Lipizzans today.
Although the Lipizzans star in this presentation, the ancestral forefather of the Lipizzan, the Spanish Andalusian, is featured in a high school presentation with special wardrobe themed to traditional Spanish music.
Not only is the Andalusian shown in saddle, but also in a unique presentation where the rider performs all the maneuvers of the Grand Prix Olympic level dressage on the longline, while walking behind the horse and guiding him through his paces.
The current tour features 12 to 14 stallions performing selected maneuvers as described above in an exciting presentation.
The conclusion of the performance of The Lipizzaner Stallions is the traditional Grand Quadrille, featuring six to eight Lipizzaner Stallions with their riders performing an intricate, equine ballet, exhibiting maneuvers through the highest level of dressage. The Lipizzans prance, march and intricately weave their way across the floor to the music of the Masters in a spectacular ballet of four-footed white dancers.
Harkening back to time when the horse was a symbol of grace and majesty, the Lipizzaner Stallions are truly a great experience to be enjoyed by the entire family. One does not need to be a horse lover to enjoy "The Equestrian Treat of the Century"!
THE SAGA OF THE LIPIZZANS
The Lipizzaner Stallion has galloped boldly out of the pages of 400 years of European history into the hearts of millions of Americans. Walt Disney's motion picture, The Miracle of the White Stallions, depicting the rescue of the horses by General Patton's men during World War II, did much to publicize and to create sympathy and admiration for the Lipizzaners in the United States.
The Lipizzan is the aristocrat, the royalty, the light and the nimble dancer and the aerialist of the equestrian world. His distant ancestors from the Orient bore Ghengis Khan out of the wastes of Asia to conquer much of the then-known world. The fleet Arabic strain in the Lipizzaners patrolled, guarded and raided treasure-laden caravans in the golden sands of the Sahara. Their masters were Bedouins, Tuaregs and riders from a dozen long forgotten tribes.
It is believed that the forerunner of the Lipizzan was bred in Carthage, more than 2,000 years ago. The Carthaginian stock was bred to the Vilano, a sturdy Pyrenees horse, and with Arab and Barbary strains. The result became the fabled Andalusian of ancient Spain.
During Spain's 700 years of Moorish domination, the breed remained essentially the same. Occasional crossing with fresh Arab and Oriental blood by the breeders of Cordoba and Granada assured that the fleetness and agility so prized by the Arabs remained qualities inherent in the stock. The Spanish began to export the horses after Spain rid itself of Moorish rule. The most notable stud farms were established in Italy and Frederiksborg, Denmark. The Danes produced excellent stock from the Spanish progenitors; the Italian "Neapolitan" bloodline became famous in Europe.
Archduke Maximilian, later Emperor of Austria, began breeding Spanish horses there about 1562. Eighteen years later, Archduke Karl, ruler of four Austrian provinces, established a royal stud farm in Lipizza, located in the hills of Karst, near Trieste. It was rugged, craggy country with little vegetation or water, but the Lipizzans thrived on it, lending to their endurance, strength and speed.
They became almost exclusively the property of the nobility and the military aristocracy. The stallions were trained for battle. Their great leaps and caprioles struck fear in the hearts of foot soldiers who opposed their well-born riders. The gentle intelligent white mares became the coach horses of the elite.
Fresh Spanish stock was systematically added to the blood line at intervals to maintain the strength of the breed. Oriental stallions were used occasionally for the same purpose. In the 17th and 18th centuries, horses from the northern Italian stud farm at Polesnia and the highly regarded Neapolitan strain were brought to Lipizza to mingle with the resident stock and the descendants of the original Spanish line out of Denmark and Germany.
General Patton was not the first to rescue the Lipizzans from the exigencies of war. In 1781, during the Napoleonic Wars, 300 horses were evacuated in a forty-day march to Stuhlweissenburg. They returned to Lipizza after peace was established. In 1805 they were moved again to Slavonia, and in 1806 to Karad, a Hungarian village with a population of less than 4,000. They returned to Lipizza, only to flee the advancing armies of France.
From 1809 to 1815 they lived in the lowlands of the Pisza River, a tributary of the Danube. The land was hard on them. It took several years and an infusion of fresh blood to recapture the vitality and high standard of the line. In May of 1915, the Lipizzans were split up. One group was taken to Laxenburg, near Vienna, and the other to Kladrub.
The fall of the Austrian House of Hapsburg in 1918 brought about the break up of the old Austrian Empire. Lipizza became a part of Italy. The Italian and Austrian governments divided the Lipizzaner herd equally. The Republic of Austria took their horses to Piber in Steiermark. Piber, a privately owned stud farm, was founded in 1798 to breed calvary mounts for the army. In 1858, it became a government breeding farm and produced Lipizzans of another and lighter strain for stud purposes in the provinces. Although "The World Famous" Lipizzaner Stallions are not affiliated with "The Spanish Riding School," a number of the Lipizzans appearing in the show were purchased from the School or born at the Piber Stud Farm.
The Lipizzan is a long-lived horse. Thirty to thirty-five years is their average life span. They are usually born black and change slowly through a period of six to ten years to their final, pure white color. Occasionally a Lipizzaner colt is born pure white, but they are rarities. Those, so born, in the days of the Hapsburg were chosen to draw the royal equipages.
There are six significant bloodlines in today's Lipizzaner breed. They originated with and date back to the following stallions: The Dane, "Pluto," 1765; The Neapolitan, "Conversano," 1767; "Maestosa," 1773; "Favory," 1799; "Neapolitano," 1790; and the Arab, "Siglavy," from the stables of Prince Schwarzenberg, 1810.
UNITED STATES 2ND CAVALRY RESCUED RARE AND NOBLE LIPIZZANER STALLIONS
In April 1945, the heroic efforts of the 42nd Squadron of the United States Army's 2nd Cavalry were responsible for the rescue and ultimate preservation of the Lipizzans. The rescue of the horses was conducted under the orders of General George S. Patton and was carried out under the direct command of Colonel Charles H. Reed.
The story of the rescue operation is most dramatic. In early 1945, Vienna was under attack by allied bombers. Colonel Alois Podjahsky, head of the famed Spanish Riding School in Vienna, feared the valuable Lipizzaner Stallions would be destroyed and arranged for the stallions to be transferred by train to St. Martin's in Upper Austria, 200 miles from Vienna. Fodder was scarce and starving refugees attempted to steal the horses for food.
Coincidentally, elements of the U.S. Third Army moved into St. Martin's at the time Podhajsky had quartered the horses there at the estate of a friend. An officer recognized Podhajsky and the stallions, and sent word to General Patton's headquarters. Patton and Podhajsky had been old friends; they competed together in equestrian events at the Olympic Games.
Podhajsky arranged to show the Lipizzans to Undersecretary of War Robert Patterson, and General Patton the following day. Patterson and Patton were so impressed by the performance of these aristocratic white horses that the General, at the request of Podhajsky, promised to make the stallions wards of the U.S. Army until they could be safely returned to their home at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna.
While the stallions were sheltered at St. Martin's, the mares and foals had been separated from the stallions and were being held at the German Remount Depot in Hostau, Czechoslovakia. American forces became aware of their location through Colonel Reed.
On April 26, 42nd Squadron captured a German general and his staff near Hostau. Reed and the General dined together and developed a friendship. The General showed Reed photographs of the Lipizzaner horses. When questioned further, the General confessed that the horses were being held at the German Remount Depot along with allied prisoners of war who cared for the horses.
Later that day Reed contacted Patton to ask permission to attack Hostau to liberate the prisoners and horses. Permission was granted. Later, an agreement was made with the Germans to allow American forces to go into Hostau and rescue the horses from the oncoming Russian troops. German officers, great admirers of the Lipizzans, willingly cooperated with the Americans fearing that approaching Russian troops would destroy the breed.
On April 28, members of Troops A, C and F of the 42nd Squadron attacked the German lines and accepted the surrender of the Germans at Hostau. The surrender, according to Reed, was "more a fiesta than a military operation, as the German troops drew up an honor guard and saluted the American troops as they came in."
The Americans found at Hostau a population of some 150 Lipizzans, including a few stallions, mares and their colts of two and three years of age. The first day was spent inspecting the horses. Two days later, German SS troops organized a counter attack on the 42nd Squadron as it moved eastward along the Czechoslovakian border. The Germans were driven off and a week later, the war had ended. Plans were then made for the disposition of the horses.
Colonel Podhajsky was flown in to inspect his horses. It was at this time that the Russian and Czech governments argued over possession of the horses. To prevent the horses from falling into their hands, the Lipizzans were quickly moved across the border to safety in Germany. Shortly thereafter, the Lipizzans were returned to the control of Colonel Podhajsky at Linz.
DRESSAGE: HARMONY BETWEEN HORSE AND RIDER
The Lipizzaner Stallion is renowned as the world's greatest exponent of dressage. Although described in many ways, perhaps the easiest way to explain dressage is its purpose: that man and horse--a two fold bond--are two hearts with one mind.
Dressage is the art of perfecting the natural gait. It is the perfect walk, the precise trot, and the even canter. Long, patient training culminates in a work of art. Mutual appreciation leads to obedience, where delicate interchanges of subtle signals render obvious yet invisible communication.
In modern terms, dressage may be thought of an equestrian ballet or aerobics. The horse and rider work together as one unit, creating an enjoyable and graceful exercise to behold.
The law of dressage--for it is a law--is a law of nature perfecting the natural. It is centuries old. Xenophon, noted Greek historian and military leader, created the art in Greece in 400 B.C. Xenophon stated an exact principle: "If one induces the horse to assume that carriage, which it would adopt of its own accord when displaying its beauty, then one directs the horse to appear joyous and magnificent, proud and remarkable for having been ridden." Xenophon went on further to say, "If the rider is not in harmony with the nature of the animal, then it will perform as a burden with no display of pleasure."
In later times, the French equestrian, Francis Robichon de Le Gueriniere stated a similar theory: "Suppleness and lack of constraint are the prerequisites for voluntarily offered obedience, not for agonized subjection of the horse." A spirited animal will die under harsh treatment and subjection.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe said, "Thou must learn the thoughts of the noble horse whom thou wouldst ride. Be not indiscreet in the demands, nor requiring him to perform indiscreetly. The horse is a wise animal. Let him show you the best and most natural way to accomplish a desired end."
Regarding young horses in training, another famed French equestrian, Antoine De La Baume Pluvinel, is quoted, "We shall take care not to vex the horse, or cause it to abandon its affable gracefulness in disgust. For this is like the fragrance blossoms, which never again returns once it has vanished."
The late Colonel Alois Podhajsky, the past longtime director of the renowned Spanish Riding School in Vienna, stated, "One can never, through violence, cause the horse to perfect the manner in which it expresses its skill, but only by delicate coaxing and subtle demanding, between much praise and little punishment."
While the Lipizzaner Stallion is courageous, spirited and strong, he is a sensitive being and responds to praise and appreciation and rebels immediately to force. The "World Famous" Lipizzaner Stallions presentation is a demonstration of a unique and admired relationship.
ANDALUSIAN: THE PRIDE OF SPAIN
The cherished horse of Spain is one of the ancient breeds of the world. Its ancestry traces to the cave dwellers of the Moslithic Age, living about 8,000 years ago in the mountains of the Iberian Peninsula. Together with the Arabian and Barb strains, the Spanish horse is responsible for founding nearly all the other recognized breeds known today. The Spanish, or Iberian horse was well known to the Romans as a superior war horse because of its strength and agility. The Romans used them under saddle and to pull their chariots. Julius Caesar wrote of the noble steeds of Hispania in Del Bello Gallico, and they are depicted in many reliefs and statuary of the period.
Hannibal relied on Spanish horses as well as elephants to take him across the Alps during his 218 B.C. invasion of Italy. History also notes that Richard the Lionhearted and many of his knights were mounted on Spanish horses when they rode to victory over the Saracens of Cypress. As further tribute to the noble breed, Sir Walter Scott put his great Ivanhoe aboard an Andalusian. As a breed, the Andalusian dates back to the 8th century and the Moorish invasion of Spain. The Moors brought with them the fine Barb horses of their homeland. These they crossed with the native Iberian horses in an effort to produce a breed that combined the finest points of each equine type. The Moors were perhaps the most patient and critical horse breeders of their time.
After the Spanish reclaimed their lands, their efforts to develop an unexcelled war horse were continued by the breeders of the Spanish province of Andalusia. The horse that they bred was very sturdy, with a long sloping shoulder, wide chest, deep heart and strong back. He also possessed extremely sturdy legs, round hindquarters and a well-crested neck with a natural arch. The horse was bred with inimitable Spanish flair. He carried himself with such style and presence that he was much sought after by kings and rulers all over the world. Because of its strength and agility, this popular steed became the premiere war horse of Europe and was used in all of Spain's successful conquests. The Spanish horse practically carried Spain to greatness. As a result, the Spanish horse enjoyed the admiration of the world for thousands of years. With the heavy use of Spanish blood, new breeds of horses were developed throughout Europe and older, more established breeds were improved. Eighty percent of all modern breeds trace part of their lineage back to the illustrious horse of Spain. Due to a heavy infusion of Spanish blood, the English Thoroughbred breed was already well established before the arrival of the celebrated Oriental stallions.
When Europe surged into the New World, the Spanish horse was integral to the explorer's efforts. As a result, it has been called the "great colonizer." As Spain's influence as a world power grew, it established stock farms in the Caribbean and supplied horses to all colonizing countries. In 1493, a law was passed that required every ship leaving Spain to carry at least 12 native horses. For hundreds of years, the Spanish horse was the equine representative in the Americas. All New World breeds carry its blood, owing at least part of what they are today to what the Andalusian was 500 years ago.
One example of the Spanish horse's influence is the American Quarter horse, whose development traces from the Colonial Short Horse--an animal of Spanish heritage--so named because it was unbeatable in short-distance races. The Short Horse was also crossed with a number of English Thoroughbreds when they were imported to what is now the United States. This mixing of blood produced most of the modern North American breeds, including the Quarter Horse, Morgan, American Saddlebred and the original American Thoroughbred. Ironically, the very breeds that the Andalusian spawned were to be his near undoing. Size became the fad in Europe. The Neapolitan, the Norman and the English Thoroughbred grew in popularity and in numbers until finally, they surpassed the position of the Spanish horse. The Andalusian breed was all but extinct in all areas except Spain and Portugal, where it became known as the Lusitano.
Then tragically, the plague followed by famine, nearly pushed the breed into oblivion. Fortunately, the horses survived in a few mountainous areas of Spain, notably at the Carthusian Monastery. The animals of this herd are today known as the Carthusians, the finest of the Spanish horses. In order to conserve the rare horses for breeding, the government of Spain placed an embargo on their export. For more than 100 years, the Andalusian was virtually unseen by the rest of the world. Then in the 1960's the export ban was lifted.
Now the popularity of the Andalusian horse is once again on the rise. Horsemen are rediscovering the traits that made the Andalusian the most sought-after horse in the world; the strength, agility, beauty, pride and docility bred for centuries into the Spanish horse. The Spanish stallions are unique because they are fiery and tractable.
This seeming contradiction stems from the edict of King Ferdinand of Spain, who enforced the old law that gentlemen must ride only stallions. This severe edict must have resulted in a few Spanish grandees being dumped on their heads, until horsemen began to breed their steeds for good temperament, knowing that they would not only have to ride stallions, but they would also be selling saddle stallions for a living.
The temperament, agility and strength of the Andalusian are again being sought after for dressage purposes. Dressage and the Spanish horse were almost synonymous in the beginning. The Spanish horse was so strong and agile that he could be trained to do amazing things, and the techniques that are now recognized as modern dressage were actually methods used to train the superior war-horses.
The Andalusian was so adept at this training that nearly all of the oldest and most famous riding schools started with Spanish horses. The best example of this is the Spanish Riding School in Austria, thus named for the Spanish horses that it used. The Lipizzan breed is an ancestor to the Andalusian, being almost totally of Spanish blood. As recently as 1968, a four-year-old stallion of the Carthusian line of the Andalusian was imported to rejuvenate the present line of Lipizzans in Austria.
Although less popular today among dressage horse breeders, the Spanish Andalusian is still a superior dressage mount. Occasionally overlooked by modern dressage riders, who consider him a "circus horse," the Andalusian significantly contributed to the Thoroughbred and most of the other popular European dressage breeds.
Nonetheless, the Andalusian is proving that he is not only suitable, but perhaps the best choice for the dressage arena. The list of the breed's winnings and the spread of its fame is limited only by its rarity.
The Andalusian is excelling in other areas as American horsemen discover his great level of versatility. As a Western-riding horse, his skills are surpassed only by his grandchild--the Quarter Horse. However, when it comes to agility and the ability to work cattle, there is none better than the Andalusian. After all, he has been through countless battles with wild and deadly Iberian bulls.
For well over 1,000 years, he has worked at close quarters with these bulls, both in and out of the bullfighting arena. With death only inches away, he has had to carry his rider close enough to a maddened bull to place a rose between his horns and then whisk away before being gored. When not in the arena, he was the only horse quick enough to work the unpredictable and dangerous herds.
As a show and parade horse, the Andalusian's trademark movements, combined with his noble appearance with a long, lush mane and tail, make him a winner. His shiny gray or white coat glistens as he moves with all of the pride and style bequeathed to him by his ancestors who carried Caesars and kings in their day of triumph and splendor.
His strength and boldness make him a very good hunter and jumper. His agility and endurance make him ideal for trial riding cross-country. Generally, the Andalusian is a horse for all seasons and for all sports, even though he is a relative newcomer to the United States. Not until 1965 were the first Andalusians registered in this country. Today, their numbers are only about 700, making them precious as gold to their owners.
AIRS ABOVE THE GROUND: This is a series of maneuvers where the horse leaps above the ground. These include the Capriole, Courbette and Levade. They are performed with or without a rider.
CAPRIOLE: The horse finds his tempo, leaps into the air, drawing his forelegs under his chest and, at the height of elevation, kicks out violently with the hind legs.
COURBETTE: The horse balances on the hind legs and then jumps, keeping the hind legs together and the forelegs off the ground.
CROUPADE: The jump is similar to the Capriole, but in this maneuver, the horse tucks both his fore and hind legs under his body at the height of elevation.
DRESSAGE: The guidance of a mount through a set of maneuvers without the perceptible use of hands, reins, legs, etc. It is a French word for "schooling of the horse," and it simply means harmony between horse and rider.
HAUTE E'COULE: The advanced art of High School riding. . . the highest level of dressage.
LEVADE: The horse must maintain a haunched position at a 45-degree angle to the ground, requiring muscle control and balance that is most difficult to perfect.
LINEAGE: There are six significant bloodlines represented in today's Lipizzan breed. The names of the horses in the show indicate these bloodlines, allowing one to trace the stallion's lineage. The names are: the Dane, PLUTO, 1765; the Neapolitan, CONVERSANO, 1767; MAESTOSO, 1773; FAVORY, 1799; NEAPOLITANO, 1790; and the Arab, SIGLAVY, 1810.
MOVEMENTS: Also called Maneuvers, these are the actions of the horse in presentation. . . and they are never referred to as "tricks."
PIAFFE: The horse stands in one spot while performing a cadence trot.
PIROUETTE: While balanced on his hind legs, the horse is required to pivot in a half circle or full circle before coming down on all four legs.
QUADRILLE: As it applies to the Lipizzan's performance, it is a military drill performed to music and features several horses and riders.
SPANISH RIDING SCHOOL OF VIENNA: A centuries-old training center in Austria, considered the "Harvard" of the equestrian world. The "World Fam-ous" Lipizzaner Stallions is an authentic presentation of this style, but is not affiliated with the Spanish Riding School.
BIOGRAPHY: Producer - Gary Lashinsky
Gary Lashinsky has produced The "World Famous" LIPIZZANER STALLIONS for over 30 years.
From 1968 to as recent as 1994, Mr. Lashinsky has gone to Austria to purchase riding horses from the Spanish Riding School of Vienna and the Piber Stud Farm. He also sought technical advice from Colonel Alois Podhajsky, the former director of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna.
In 1970, Mr. Lashinsky produced the first touring unit of "The World Famous" LIPIZZANER STALLIONS which since that time has played to millions of enthusiastic fans throughout North America, South America, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Great Britain. The current traveling show tours to over 140 cities a year all across the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.
Mr. Lashinsky's experience spans over 37 years in the theatrical business. His involvement in family oriented attractions throughout North America, South America and Australia include such outstanding presentations as: the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, Ice Capades, Ice Follies, Holiday on Ice, Disney on Parade, The Harlem Globetrotters, plus numerous Broadway theatrical productions, including Yul Brynner in "The King and I". He has also produced concert tours for popular recording artists such as the Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, Tom Jones, Olivia Newton-John, Elvis Presley and The Doors.
Mr. Lashinsky's hobbies are varied and quite exciting. Not only is he a twenty-year multi-engine and instrument rated pilot, he is also the former National President of the Dodge "Viper Club of America", and in his spare time, enjoys driving and racing his Vipers throughout the United States. Mr. Lashinsky is also involved in many other promotional activities, all designed to bring the finest in family entertainment to millions of people. You can look for his name to be associated with these shows while you enjoy The "World Famous" LIPIZZANER STALLIONS.
BIOGRAPHY: Master of Ceremonies - Troy Tinker
Troy Tinker is the narrator for the Lipizzaner Stallions.
He began his professional career in Cleveland, Ohio, where he performed on a variety of stages, including the "Great Lakes Theater Festival" and "Giant Portions" comedy improv troupe. It was during his five-year stint with this group that he was asked to host the "Laser-Light and Fireworks Show" at Sea World of Ohio. The Lipizzaner Stallions were also featured there that summer, and one year later, Troy received the call from Lipizzaner show producer, Gary Lashinsky, asking him to join the Lipizzaner's International tour.
During breaks from touring, Troy had a featured role in an episode of the UPN network's series, "The Strip", portrayed "Merlin" at Orlando's Disney World, and traveled Australia and New Zealand as narrator of "Cinderella On-Ice". He was featured in two live-action computer games, "Lands of Lore, Guardians of Destiny" and "The Golden Nugget", which starred Adam West.
Troy now makes his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. Where he has been featured at "Caesar's Magical Empire", and taught improvisation for "The Second City". He also starred in "Ba-Da-Bing", an interactive dinner-theatre show, that he also wrote and directed.
Troy is happiest when he is travelling the world with "his ponies".
The "World Famous" LIPIZZANER STALLIONS perform live at the
on April 30, 2006.
For more information, go to