Classical dressage and the schools above the ground as performed in the Spanish Riding School Vienna, require special psychological and physical properties from riding horses. To document the training and performing level of the Lipizzan riding stallions from the Spanish Riding School Vienna we analysed the horses’ performance traits retrieved from chief riders’ evaluations in relation to training levels and age classes and we studied the interplay of performing status with the horses’ body shape. In total the mean age of all 80 riding stallions was 11.9 years (min 4 years, max. 26 years). Completely trained stallions (competition level S and higher) were on average 15.6 years old (min. 10 years, max. 26 years). From ten recorded performance traits (five physical traits and five psychological traits) walk, trot and collection ratings showed significant differences for levadeurs, caprioleurs and courbetteurs, the psychological traits reactibility, diligence and sensibility showed significant differences between age class (3-4 years, 5-8 years, 9-16 years, >16 years) and number of flying gallop changes. Further we found, that 80% of the chief riders’ ratings of physical performance traits reached significant levels in the shape regressions, indicating an association of their ratings with body shape variation. The resulting mean body shapes from the significant regressions, illustrated the requirements of the school above the ground and the classical dressage on the horses’ conformation. We showed that the evaluation of subjective ratings on valuating scales applying shape regressions can help to optimize the quality of scoring data in equine performance traits.
Article: Druml T., Dobretsberger M. and Brem G. (2017) The interplay of performing level and conformation – a characterisation study of the Lipizzan riding stallions from the Spanish Riding School Vienna, Journal of Veterinary Equine Science, DOI: 10.1016/j.jevs.2017.06.003