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Rare Lipizzaner Stallions to show off pedigree at World Arena


With horse lovers champing at the bit over the likes of Smarty Jones, it would seem that equinophilia (yeah, I made that up) has reached its greatest levels since the release of The Black Stallion in 1979 starring Mickey Rooney, Teri Garr and the long-forgotten child actor Kelly Reno (of Pueblo).

Well, here's another reason to get your jodhpurs in a knot: The rarest of rare horses, the infamous Lipizzaner Stallions will be coming to the World Arena in Gary Lashinsky's now-renowned show of the horses' balletic refinement.

To understand the appeal of the Lippizaners, one must understand that they were once the most prized of battle horses. Bred by Austrian Archduke Maximilian at what is still called "The Spanish Riding School" in the late 16th century from Spanish Andalusian horses, the horses became quickly known for their power, grace and mystique. Born brown or black, the Lipizzaners turn white over the course of their first 10 years and live to be as old as 35. The horses were trained to do moves like the "capriole" -- a kicking out of the hind legs that could level a barbarian or a barricade. The horses were also notoriously intuitive of their riders' needs and commands in battle situations due in part to their natural sensitivity and also to the rigorous standards of training established at The Spanish Riding School. Basically, they were the bomb.

Nowadays there are only 2,500 Lipizzaner Stallions in the world and few have the privilege of becoming these ponies' riders in an orally transmitted tradition of dressage. Expect a show full of gorgeous horses with lots of fancy prancing to classical music!

-- Noel Black

capsule Dancing White Stallions featuring the Lipizzaner Stallions

Saturday, June 19, 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

World Arena, 3185 Venetucci Blvd.

Tickets $19.50 - $24.50

Call 477-2121

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