24 March 2013

The Solo of Siglavy Mantua I from the 2005 SRS Tour

The video below shows Oberbereiter Klaus Krzisch's featured solo on Siglavy Mantua I, a ride performed throughout the Spanish Riding School's 2005 tour of the United States. The ride was fine, very fine, but of course we could criticize it--sloppy halt, a little overbent here and there--but all told, a beautiful demonstration of quiet riding and supreme equine obedience and relaxation, and all while his rider held only the curb rein in one hand throughout.

The most impressive element though is Siglavy Mantua I himself. This stallion was foaled in 1979. That's right. He was 26 years old, and, instead of being dead or in a wobbly retirement, he was in a spotlight as the featured solo. Full collection,  passage, pirouettes, tempi changes. On the curb alone.

Can you tell I'm impressed? I know an upper level rider lucky enough to see this ride in person. She raved more than I'm raving. The horse. The level of riding and training. The level of conditioning.

(Click the WATCH ON YOUTUBE link to watch the video.)

After the 2005 tour, he continued at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna in the role of schoolmaster. In March 2007 he retired to become a full-time breeding stallion at Piper. Finally, his remarkable body failed him, and he was euthanized on August 19, 2008.

A 2002 son, Siglavy Malina II appeared in London in 2011, but I haven't found anything about sons from the one crop he sired after retirement.

I have however heard rumors from multiple sources that the privatization of the Spanish Riding School hit the school hard, the need for extra shows straining the horses to the point of lameness.

I don't follow SRS news much but thanks to Google, I found out some more old, bad news. Here's part of an article translated from Czech:
   At the end of 2009 were "knocked out" two top riders SRS, who are under investigation by Equi-News. Klaus was Krzische and Johann Riegler (both in the highest positions riding hirerarchie SRS).
     CEO Spanish Riding School, Dpl.Kfm Elisabeth Guertler, responded to the question Equi-News. as follows: "It is true, as we have explained, that occurred as a result of austerity measures to repeal two top riders. leader boss rider Klaus Krzisch b 
yl solely for disciplinary reasons (which was established in December 2007), deprived of services. U boss rider Johanna Riegler, the situation is completely different: He was not ready to support the Court of Justice (our SAI) of the proposed changes and therefore decided to leave the Spanish Riding School. As a civil servant, but it is still a purely formal employee of the Spanish Riding School. "
     In an open letter, published end of January 2010 (which was signed by among others, the former head of the Spanish Riding School Dr. Jaromir Oulehla), it is against the leadership SRS states: "The problems caused lameness and injuries stallions, which caused the cancellation of classic performances, and deterioration in the - until now unbeatable - quality on the accuracy of performance, dropping sharply luster performances, among other things, are probably caused by the doubling of the number of terms performance. stallions are thus overloaded and time for the necessary repairs practice agenda items are limited. Moreover, it should be noted that two highly qualified older leading riders (out of four) have been constructed out of service. verbal transmission By "classical knowledge of the 'younger riders like Elévové and younger riders (which is characteristic of the Spanish Riding School), is very limited and in danger of maintaining this type of teaching. "
America Tour 2005
Sorry about the clipped text and photo. Just click the link.

The tie-in here is that both of these men held Oberbereiter status, and one was the Krzisch, rider of Siglavy Mantua I. The loss of two such experienced riders didn't bode well for the school keeping its elite level. Of course anyone who's read Alois Podhajsky's autobiographies knows the school's been short of truly upper level riders before and survived.

However, privatization certainly adds a new danger. When these two Oberbereiters were "knocked off," the director was a woman with marketing experience. I haven't been able to find out if she had any experience with horses at all.

I don't know who's at the top right now and don't have the time to find out. The current director of the training center is Oberbereiter Andreas Hausberger about whom I currently know virtually nothing. In fact, I know painfully little about the bureaucracy of the institution, but the SRS website now has a special link for sponsorship of the horses.

I suppose a bit of corporate sponsorship could have been rationalized and downplayed, but turning the SRS into a profit maker strikes me as like turning the Statue of Liberty into a Disney-owned theme park. This line brought it home to me: "The Spanish Riding School enjoys an impeccable reputation and is one of Austria's best-known brands." But now, for better or worse, people can use the Spanish Riding School as a venue to stage their weddings There's a link to the SRS "Event Service."

The tab next to "Event Service" is "Tradition." I find the irony nearly overwhelming. No wonder I've avoided this site for years now.

UPDATE: Krzisch won his lawsuit against the Spanish Riding School. I had to switch to google.de to find the story but here it is, translated once again by faithful Google: "First Chief Rider Klaus Krzisch Baseless Put off Duty." Facts are still thin as to what happened, and I'm sure there'll be an appeal.

In the meantime, anyone want to bet that Kzrisch and Riegler objected mightily and futilely to the overworking of the stallions under the new for-profit model? This story sounds like a great opportunity for a made-for-TV series, doesn't it?

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