Legendary White Stallions
Full Episode

Watch the full episode Legendary White Stallions

The striking white Lipizzaner stallions of the famed Spanish Riding School in Vienna have been thrilling audiences for centuries. During the winter public performance season, the horses execute breathtaking displays of carefully choreographed and synchronized movements known as high classical dressage. The riding school’s success relies on the strong bonds the animals establish with their riders during years of training; Lipizzaner stallions go through a minimum of six years of practice and preparation before performing publicly. Legendary White Stallions explores how Lipizzaners have developed from horses bred for war in the rugged Atlas Mountains of North Africa into living works of art capturing the hearts of millions in a world-famous court of kings. “Legendary White Stallions” premiered May 1, 2013. Restricted to U.S. & Territories.

  • Todd

    The best show about horses and their riders I have ever seen!

  • Ms Sari Sarlund

    I only just learned about this program…is it going to air again, and when? I’m upset that I missed it.

  • Kaylynne

    A place and institution out of time. What a treasure! Thank you.

  • Doug Lovitt

    Hi, I recored this program on our local PBS channel, WGVU, Wednesday, May 1rst at 8pm so I could see it. when I got home- an episode of Born free was on? What is going on? I am very disappointed.

  • Sue Bartlett

    Very good show. I still hope to one day see the Lipizzaners show in person. I am interested in knowing what happens to the stallions & mares that are judged not good enough for the school or breed farm?

  • Cynthia

    Oh my goodness! Saw the last 15 mins of this and couldn’t take my eyes off. I’ve been trying to explain to my 6 yr old horse crazy daughter about the “ballet” horses. Can i get this on DVD???

  • Bettyan McKenzie

    Truly beutiiful program. The soft speaking and gentle handling daily for some 20 years has produced a
    talented, easy going mount of absolute beauty. Thank you for a heartfelt interesting instructive program. B. McK

  • Christi

    Sue – The extra horses are sold, Piber actually has a page on their website with information (http://www.piber.com/en/horse-sale/)

    The Spanish Riding School doesn’t tour the US often, but if you get the chance, do go. I was lucky enough to see them the last time they came here, in 2006, and it was amazing. I still hope to someday see them perform in Vienna though.

  • mary lucia sanchez

    I absoutely adored this program I don’t own horses, but I’ve had the opportunity to ride slowly bareback by myself, and my stepdad took me riding when I was a child. This was my second time to see a colt born, the first time was a long time ago on good morning america with joan london. I have 2 coworkers that own ranches and just monday 4-31-2013 one of them had a colt born, wow! she showed me by phone a picture, and it was beautiful just like the colt on the program, I studied the baroque music in college my first opera was Lucia de Amour in Dallas, I enjoyed every minute of this program. Thank You So Much, P.S. I also enjoy the program that I apoligaze cannot remember, but it’s a lady that is narriating it showing lots of beautiful horses and beautiful landscapes.

  • Lauren

    My husband actually turned this on and was completely captivated, which is very unusual for him. We watched the whole program in awe. It was an amazing and well done documentary that we completely enjoyed. Thanks!

  • Max

    If you ever get a chance to go to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna then GO. You will love it

  • Carol Kramb

    What a wonderful documentary on these beautiful horse I missed this last night and got to watch it today. Thank you so much for this show.

  • F-22Raptor

    Sue Bartlett, the stallions and mares who do not make the grade are sold into private stables and homes. If you go to the Piber stud farm’s website they have a sales page where you can see some of the mares, stallions and geldings that are being offered for sale.

  • eileen

    Wonderful program. The background of the breed parallels the background of the American Mustang: Nature producing horses with incredible physical and mental abilities. And the training of the School parallels the skills of the trainers of the Mustangs now competing in Mustang Makeover and Mustang Million. To observe either discipline is to be amazed and enthralled with what can be accomplished by human and horse. Do look at some of what the Mustangs are doing, like this video of Mary Miller Jordan and Silver Lining at the Mustang Makeover in 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xrhrHXOZ-8

  • Renae sullivan

    I love this program.the only thing wrong with it,it left me wanting more?

  • Amy Latka

    Thank you for providing wonderful programs like this. Us horse lovers appreciate every moment of quality equestrian programming — educational or entertainment — we can get on TV. Thank you!!

  • Karen Coates

    THANK YOU, PBS, for bringing us this outstanding NATURE episode! I thought you accurately captured the spirit of Vienna and the Riding School. Their performance isn’t to be missed if you’re lucky enough to see Vienna! The extra background info on the rearing and training was fascinating. Thanks for beautifully bringing us the story of the Lipizzaners!!

  • Marc McFarland

    The Lipizzaners are absolutely gorgeous and are my absolute favorite breed of horses; I love them. I so want to go there and see the show and I would do almost anything to be able to go there and learn Dressage from the masters. It’s called the Spanish Riding School but it’s in Vienna, Austria whats up with that? Shouldn’t it be called the Viennese Riding School or something like that?

  • Susana G. Rendon

    Thank you for showing us the world of this magnificent horse. My Grandughter is taking riding lessons and loves everything about horses, she lives in Switzerland. I’m sure she will love this program. Thank you !!!!

  • Marc McFarland

    Cynthia I hate to burst your bubble but they’re not, “Ballet” Horses; They’re doing Dressage witch is medevil Calvary techniques to minimize or reduce the horse and riders chance of being hit by incoming arrows from and later artillery fire. Lipizzaners especially were great war-horses used for Cuirassiers which were light calvary that were most often fielded against enemy artillery batteries, have you ever read the book or seen the movie, “The charge of the light brigade.” The Cuirassiers used Dressage techniques to avoid enemy fire while they charged enemy gun-batteries hopefully from the flanks or rear so they didn’t get cut to pieces like the horses and riders in the book, “The charge of the light brigade,” in which incompetent leadership orders the light brigade to charge a very large force of enemy cannon batteries from the front while having to charge through a narrow area forcing the horses and their riders to bunch up and clump together making them unable to use their dressage techniques their-bye making them perfect targets for the enemys big guns, it’s a very sad ending.

  • sally Laubin

    When is this beautiful show going to be repeated?

  • fultonk

    For those of you who have been asking about rebroadcast, you can check your local public television station schedules here.

  • Margaret

    For more information on Lipizzaners in the U.S. you can visit the United States Lipizzan Federation website at http://www.uslipizzan.org and Facebook. I’m lucky to have two of these wonderful horses in my life. We’re trying to get the word out that they’re not just for the palaces of Europe but can excel in any discipline from dressage to driving to jumping to ranch work and trail riding. They’re rare but they’re out there!

  • tll

    And for us unfortunate Canadians that can’t watch it? Any other link? It’s geoblocked.

  • Joyce Steinbock

    Wonderful program. I hope this helps with SRS fundraising efforts to keep this institution going. People also don’t know that the Balken wars destroyed the stud farms in the old Yudoslavia. There are also other stud farms in Hungary, Czech, Poland, thru out Europe, and around the world.

    Temple Farms,in Illinois, imported horses during the 1950s and has a performance program for visitors too.

  • Amy

    Thank you for producing this beautiful documentary. As a horseperson and dressage rider myself I found it to be a privilege to view. I had recorded the piece and found the cinematography so stunning that I watched it twice in a row!

  • Nicole Barnes

    I could not watch this program :( The commercials played just fine but the show just said it was loading for 20 minutes and never actually played :( It sounds wonderful! I’ll try again later…

  • G.R. Cook

    Thank you for the lovely program and the chance to see it online. Feeling lucky to have 3 Lipizzans in my stable.
    Great to see the extended families.

  • RaeAnn Cook

    Thank you PBS for a lovely and educational program. Feeling very privileged to have three Lipizzan horses in my stable. They are all unique, strong and intelligent athletes.

    Appreciate the program and background information on the family lines.

  • Kathy

    Lipizzaners are in the US and are known for their intelligence and desire to work with people. Our family has been fortunate to find several, including 2 mares from Piber. We thank PBS and Nature for presenting such an accurate and beautiful portrait of the Lipizzan. To see what is happening with Lipizzans in North America, check out the website: uslipizzan.org. There is even a rescue for Lipizzans: Lipizzan Rescue Foundation http://saveourlips.com/.

  • kc

    Is this available on DVD? If so, where can I get it? I live in Canada, so the video on this site does not work for me.

  • Ruben Gutierrez

    Grew up boy in the farm loving horses, is the best ever I saw about horse in my life,… Thanks a lot.

  • Kathy

    Thank you PBS Nature! Your presentation captured the wonderful intelligence and friendliness of Lipizzaners as well as their athletic ability. The numbers are low, but Lipizzaners are in North America, imported or descendents of Piber horses and many from other European stud farms. For more information see http://www.uslipizzan.org. There is also a Lipizzan Rescue Foundation- http://saveourlips.com/ The photo is of our first 2 “Lips”.

  • Janet Harms

    Recently a lot of my contacts have been on Facebook speaking out against slaughtering horses for meat. It has been horrible to see pictures of some of the ones in kill pens…on and off I have had to stop watching this horror or chance getting emotionally and possibly physically ill….this wonderful video on th Lipizzaners was such a turn around from this horrible situation I was it just about in tears…to see these animals so adored and revered for the magnificent creature that is’ the horse’ was overwhelming… Thank you for this film and I hope that showing it at this time starts some thinking about ‘what are we doing??’ I also did know that the wars destroyed the stud farms and am greatful you did not go into that…as it was the whole film was on such a positve, uplifting note if would have taken away from it…This is, without a doubt, one of the best documentries I have ever seen and I am hoping it also sends a message that causes people to rethink ..you have done such a fine job..Thank you again…I am truly touched by the beauty….

  • Janet

    To Marc McFarland…why did you find it necessary to go into detail about them being perfect targets in battle….yes the past has some very horrific, graphic history….but this was about now and the beauty they bring to the world …how they are treated with kindess and love so that when the rider mounted for the first time she was immediately accepted…there is enough inhumane treatment of the creatures that have been put in our care…let this be a moment, if just for a moment, t to forget all of that and see how it can and should be..we can always find saddness in the news, on the TV, in the movies…when something so positive is presented lets just have it leave us the same way not clouded with the pain of other times or sometimes just in other places..

  • Patricia

    I loved the program! I was fortunate to see 2 live performances. The first time in Washington , the second time in California, twenty years later! I recognized the MC. He also loved the horses, I could see. The gentle approach of the traing warms my heart. Thank you

  • Helen

    FABULOUS….incredible photography, great history…So impressed with the kind, concistent and loving care given in All aspects of these horses breeding and training. The result is truely Magnificent…We (mankind ) owe an enormous debt and respect to these creatures of burden, war and now beauty….thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • Trisha Westphal

    I loved it! ….especially the horses running in the fields…..one of the things that dreams are made of.

    Thank you

  • bette emmons

    Having raised Lipizzaners for 52 yearsand attended the Spanische in Vienna, I must say that this was the most comprehensive video ever!!! Congratulations and give us MORE! Especially competitions of Lipizzaners! Three of my stallions reached Grand Prix dressage in the US and two of them the Airs Above the Ground. I want a copy of the CD of this show – where do I find it?

  • Beth

    This program was pretty good but they missed a critical part of these horse’s history where they almost went extinct during WWII. That’s always been my favorite part of the story- first the stallions had to be smuggled out of Vienna at great personal risk to the members of the Spanish riding school who refused to leave them behind then the heroic rescue of the mares by U.S. troops as they stood behind enemy lines.

  • erin

    #1: The only ‘bubble’ around here is yours; “Ballet’ horses is a very common description used by those not familiar with the world of horses. I’d say it is probably the most appropriate term for it as it isn’t all that far off.
    #2: For someone with such superior knowledge and historical prestige, your spelling and grammar are concerning. For ex. You used the word ‘witch’ when it should have been ‘which’ and ‘calvary’ is where Jesus was crucified. Mounted soldiers are called ‘cavalry’.
    Every modern riding discipline originated out of necessity, no one is arguing that; the very purpose of this type of show is to educate and inspire people to learn more about a subject. Your answer and attitude helps no one. Who knows, YOU might even learn something new! ” It takes a strong man to stand up and speak out; it takes an even stronger man to sit down and listen.” ~Winston Churchhill

  • Ann Lang

    Thank you for this beautiful piece! I was a volunteer groom for Hermann’s Original Royal Lippizzan Stallions of Austria (The Myakka City, FL Group). Many of my very skilled horsey friends did not believe me when I told them the Stallions were so sweet, and so easy to work with…your piece clearly illustrates this. Like my late friend, Col. Ottoman Hermann always said, ” there is no tricks, or magic…their training is all about kindness , patience …and lots of love”. Thank you again for sharing this beautiful piece on this lost art, these rare horses, and how easy stallions can be to work with. Also, I must bring up Patton and the US troops who had saved these horses from slaughter in WWII…because Col. Ottomar Herrman gave thanks to him, and the troops for saving his horses from certain extinction every day.

  • Mary Hinchman

    Eoisode on Lipzzaners was advertised for May 1 but instead Elsa and Born Free was aired.
    Looks like there were other shows on the lipizzaner??? I would have gone out of my way to see these but either didn’t know of them or something else aired. What a huge disappointment :(

  • Janet


    It was my father in law who rode the mares to safety under the orders of General Patton.

  • Abby

    love this episode best ever i need to train my horses this that would be cool

  • Spencer

    Why was this rated TV-PG?

  • Elizabeth

    I missed the Lipzzaners show. We live in Canada and can’t get it on-line.
    Are you planning to rebroadcast it and when? thanks.



  • Eusebio

    For those who want to buy the DVD check the ‘SHOP’ link, you’ll find it there

  • Lisa

    My husband and I throughly enjoyed this program. Thank you for this and your many other great programs!

  • Art Melanson

    What an excellent video, what lovely horses. Indeed this was a gift.

  • Bellazaar

    Isn’t it amazing what we can accomplish when we drop the sticks and spurs and ,well. any inch shank. Leaves the hand open to straighten a forelock, stroke a shoulder or scratch the base of a tail (that Always gets the lip twitching) Don’t ya just love horses? This video is so inspiring and informative. It is my hope that you repeat it so many people as possible can view. Maybe next year we will see more smiles and less gimmicks, That is the hope.

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