Bring on the dancing horses

Many people have revered horses for their beauty, grace, intelligence, strength and speed. Audiences will get to see all those qualities exhibited in the “World Famous” Lipizzaner Stallions when the celebrated white horses trot into town this weekend. The traveling show isn’t associated with the world-renowned Spanish Riding School of Vienna in Austria, the home of the famous equines, but it does feature Lipizzaner stallions executing many of the movements and exercises taught at that facility. The Lipizzan breed has a long and interesting history. The forerunner of the Lipizzan is believed to have been bred in Carthage more than 2,000 years ago. Generations of breeding with other stock, including Arab and Barbary strains, gave rise to the Andalusian of ancient Spain. This horse was bred by the Moors, who occupied Spain for 700 years. After the Spanish expelled the Moors in 1492, the horses were exported to other countries. Notable stud farms were set up in Denmark and in provinces that are now part of present-day Germany and Italy. In 1580, Archduke Charles II of Austria established a royal stud farm in Lipizza (now in Slovenia). These horses were bred with a native stock and crossed with the strains developed in Italy, Denmark and Germany over generations. Lipizzaner stallions were trained for battle, and audiences will see these horses’ military heritage demonstrated in movements such as the levade, courbette and capriole. The “World Famous” Lipizzaner Stallions will perform these maneuvers and others starting at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 5 and 2 p.m. Aug. 6 at Lawlor Events Center, 15th and Virginia streets. Tickets are $22.50-$28.75. Call 784-4444.