The world’s oldest and most famous equestrian academy celebrates its 450th anniversary in 2015. Considered Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO since 2010, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna continues to delight both connoisseurs and newcomers to horsemanship almost half a millennium since its foundation in 1565. Minted in the school’s honour, this superb 20 euro silver coin brilliantly echoes the elegance of the Spanish Riding School and will no doubt delight you, too.
Synonymous with the Austrian capital, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution worldwide where classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the haute école is still cultivated. Both sides of the coin feature the baroque Winter Riding School, built by Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach from 1729 to 1735, in the background. The coin’s obverse shows a pair of Lipizzaner stallions and their riders performing a Pas de deux, a traditional highlight of their performance, which requires very high levels of concentration and coordination. The coin’s reverse shows a stallion and rider executing a Levade, one of the school’s equestrian inventions, in which the stallion puts its entire weight on its hind legs and raises its front legs no more than 45 degrees.