The Austrian Mint (Muenze Osterreich) has released a new silver coin commemorating 450 years since the formation of what is now the world’s oldest riding academy, the Spanish Riding School. Called “Spanish” because its horses  originated in the Iberian Peninsula in the 16th century, they now train beautiful Lipizzaner stallions, a cross between Spanish, Arabian and Berber horses.

Legally independent since 2001, but still wholly owned by the Austrian Federation, the school is charged with continuing the breeding of Lipizzaners,, and with preserving the High School of Classical Horsemanship. These magnificent white horses are trained to perform from four years old and have names like Conversano Calcedona, Neapolitano Allegra, and Maestoso Virtuosa. You can read more about this Vienna-based organisation on their website.

The coin itself is a fine design, you certainly couldn’t say the mint has failed to capture the essence of what the Spanish Riding School does on either of its sides. The coin was designed by two of the Austrian Mints top artists, Thomas Pesendorfer and Herbert Wahner, between them responsible for some superb entrants in such series as Prehistoric Life, Federal Provinces, Niobium, and the recent award-winning Klimt and His Women, as well as the iconic Philharmonic bullion coin.

Available to order now from the Austrian Mint website for €45, it will start to ship from 18 February 2015 and comes in the standard little red box that the mint uses for most releases.


The world’s oldest and most famous equestrian academy celebrates its 450th anniversary in 2015. Considered Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO since 2010, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna continues to delight both connoisseurs and newcomers to horsemanship almost half a millennium since its foundation in 1565. Minted in the school’s honour, this superb 20 euro silver coin brilliantly echoes the elegance of the Spanish Riding School and will no doubt delight you, too.

Synonymous with the Austrian capital, the Spanish Riding School in Vienna is the only institution worldwide where classical equitation in the Renaissance tradition of the haute école is still cultivated. Both sides of the coin feature the baroque Winter Riding School, built by Joseph Emanuel Fischer von Erlach from 1729 to 1735, in the background.

OBVERSE:  shows a pair of Lipizzaner stallions and their riders performing a Pas de deux, a traditional highlight of their performance, which requires very high levels of concentration and coordination.

REVERSE: shows a stallion and rider executing a Levade, one of the school’s equestrian inventions, in which the stallion puts its entire weight on its hind legs and raises its front legs no more than 45 degrees.

WEIGHT 20.00 g (18.00g fine)
SIZE 34.0 mm
MINTAGE 50,000