Myakka City is the winter home of the Spanish American Riding School of Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions. This unique and noble breed of horses descended from the Hapsburg Riding School in Vienna, Austria. A visit to this unique horse ranch near Sarasota is a thrilling experience for anyone who appreciates world-class horsemanship and beautiful horses.
History of Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Stallions in Sarasota
Dating back to the 16th century, the Lipizzan breed of horses is undoubtedly the rarest and most exclusive breed in the world. The horses were trained for dressage and classical equitation and the bloodline has remarkably been preserved for centuries. These noble white horses were first bred on a stud farm by Archduke Charles, ruler of the wealthy Hapsburg Empire. The breed took its name from the nearby village of Lipizza, which is now part of Slovenia.
The Lipizzan breed has only ever had a few hundred horses at any one time and they almost died out during World War II. Fortunately General George Patton countered the Russian Advance and the stallions were saved from extinction. Accompanying General Patton was Colonel Herrman and his father, Colonel Ottoman Herrman Sr. Together they smuggled a handful of the prize stallions out from behind enemy lines. They hid by day and then rode at night. This remarkable true story is now retold in the Walt Disney movie “Miracle of the White Stallions”.
The thoroughbred stallions continue to be bred, trained, and cared for by descendants of Colonel Herrmann on a 200-acre ranch near Sarasota, Florida.
Lipizzan Riding Lessons at the Spanish American Riding School
The ultimate treat for any horse lover is a private lesson at this prestigious riding school where visitors get the chance to ride one of the magnificent well-trained stallions. Lessons take place on Mondays through Wednesdays at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Gift certificates are available for those who want to surprise a loved one by gifting this fabulous experience.
Herrmann’s Royal Lipizzan Horse Shows
Lipizzan stallions are trained to perform magnificent leaps and plunges following an ancient art of horsemanship which dates back to 400BC. The rearing action was used to strike fear in opposing foot soldiers. It is a delight to watch the precise steps and springing jumps that these remarkable horses now perform as part of European equitation. Skillful riders take part in wonderful shows as they ride, often synchronized to music, as part of the Royal Lipizzan Stallion Displays. If you get the chance to see one of the traveling shows it is a must-see.
During the winter months, the Lipizzan Stallions stay on the ranch near Sarasota and they perform shows at the Horse Show Grounds. The winter training shows are performed each Thursday and Friday at 3 p.m., and Saturday mornings at 10 a.m. from December through April. The Lipizzan horses also attend certain special events where visitors can meet these beautiful stallions and their riders and get the chance to ride one.
However, visiting the stables at Myakka City and stroking the horses is a pleasure on another level. Visitors can stroll around the arena and visit the barn where the immaculately groomed white horses nibble contentedly on hay.
This is a thrilling experience for anyone who loves horses or appreciates watching Dressage events. It’s also a unique opportunity to appreciate these historic horses and support their on-going survival for future generations.