Lipizzan photo
Photograph by de:Benutzer:BS Thurner Hof. License: GNU.


Other Names

The Lipizzan or Lipizzaner is one of the most elegant horse breeds. It has a compact, muscular figure, athletic yet graceful. The head is well proportioned to the body, narrow and with a slightly convex profile. The eyes are large and expressive while the ears are medium sized and alert. The neck is medium sized, strong and graceful. The hindquarters are strong, the legs short and strong and the hooves well defined and solid.

Average height of 14.2 to 15.2 hands. Some individuals may grow to be 16 hands high. They weigh 1,000-1,300 pounds.

Most horses are light grey. Other colors they may come in include bay, black and white.

Lipizzan horses are intelligent and show a high aptitude for concentration and learning when training. They are noble, generous and gentle horses, always willing to work. They rarely complain and are capable of performing well under pressure. They are social animals and have a friendly disposition towards people.

Suitable for
The Lipizzan horse is used very widely in dressage and driving competitions. Its athletic nature makes it also suitable for show jumping and endurance riding. Many of these horses are also used in circuses. Finally, Lipizzans are used for pleasure riding, for which they are perfect due to their docile nature and friendly disposition towards humans. Their elegant looks have paved the way for them to appear frequently in movies and various TV shows.

Apart from the standard feeding, housing and exercising requirements of all horse breeds, they also require frequent grooming. This is to ensure that their light colored coat remains clean.

The breed is over 450 years old. It was developed from Spanish horses and it symbolizes royalty as it is closely associated to the Hapsburg monarchy. The Lipizzan is the main horse used in the Spanish Riding School of Vienna. There, the horses are rigorously trained and very selectively bred. The breed became almost extinct during the Second World War. Alois Podhajsky, the director of the Spanish Riding School at the time, managed to keep the breed alive.

There are small numbers of Lipizzans born each year and breeders do their best to maintain the breed pure. Although Lipizzans are very healthy horses, inbreeding has been known to cause melanoma. The breed matures later in life than most horse breeds. However Lipizzans also tend to live longer than other horse breeds; their average lifespan is 30-35 years.