The spectacular classical horsemanship seen at the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna has been formally recognised as something special by the United Nations cultural agency Unesco.
The work at the school has been formally added to Unesco’s list of intangible cultural treasures.
The decision was made by a Unesco committee which met in Namibia this week to consider a series of additions to the cultural roll, officially known as the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The committee – the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage – said the classical horsemanship at the 450-year-old school involved the traditional art and practice of breeding, raising, training and riding Lipizzaner horses.
The school’s social practices, ceremonies and rituals reflected long-standing relationships between breeders, grooms, craftspeople, riders and horses, Unesco said.
Knowledge of horse husbandry and the use of equipment was transmitted to cadets by grooms and experienced riders.
“The tradition gives communities within the school a sense of identity and ensures the safeguarding of techniques relating to horse husbandry,” it said in a statement.