Vienna's renowned Spanish Riding School is on the verge of bankruptcy, The Associated Press reported Friday, which means if the school closes, Tempel Farms in Wadsworth would be one of the last homes for training Lipizzan stallions.
If you've ever seen the summer show at the Tempel grounds off Wadsworth Road near Hunt Club Road, the Lipizzans are something to see as they strut and dance under the direction of riders in two-cornered hats, performing to classical tunes with grace and military precision. Yet, they're expensive. The 403-year-old Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austra says it lost nearly $2.9 milion last year.
The school has canceled a planned U.S. tour to save on travel expenses as officials scramble to put together a bailout plan, the AP said. Its 17 riders are paid bonuses while on the road that can boost their monthly salaries to $14,700.
In addition to canceling the U.S. tour, the school will boost the number of performances in Vienna from 38 to 69 this year in hopes of boosting ticket receipts, and plans to cultivate its own grain to cut feed costs for the prized stallions. In Vienna, an estimated 250,000 people a year attend the school's performances, which cost about $73 for a ringside seat and roughly half that for a standing-room-only ticket.
The Lipizzaners long served as a symbol of Austria's past glory during the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which stretched across much of Europe until World War I. Austria's former ruling royal family, the Hapsburgs, went to
Spain centuries ago to buy horses and founded a stud farm in what is now Slovenia.