Thanks so much to everyone who has taken the time to write to me about the blog. So far, every letter is an encouragement to proceed. We're up to 18 letters as of today, December 15th.
What I would like to do is make a book of your letters, which I will send to Mr. Aigner, the new director at the Spanish Riding School, and to Oberbereiter Riegler. I would like them and everyone at the School to read your words directly from their friends in the USA.
If you object to your letter being part of my dossier to Vienna, please let me know.
And I agree with every one of you on the major points. So far, no one has quite verbalized what I feel, which is that the Spanish Riding School's 2005 tour of the USA was not just another horse exhibition or event for many of us. We connected with the spectacle of these horses on a deeper level and the connection should be nurtured and allowed to grow, I believe.
Some of you suggested that the SRS is a bit secretive and publicity-shy. I believe I would have agreed with you until I went there and was received so graciously. I can tell you that no doors were closed to me...they even let me go into stalls and pick up horses' feet to see the shoes. (Try doing that in a show or racing barn, where the horses are stabled in knee-high straw so you can't see their feet. Intentionally!)
The new changes in the management of the Spanish Riding School are confusing and I don't know much about how the privitization works. I know two key people, Dr Werner Pohl and stud farm director Alfred Pischler, have left the organization. They were both very helpful to me and I am very grateful. As far as I know, neither of them has been replaced, although Mr. Aigner, the financial director, is now in the leadership role.
If I have a criticism it is that when I started researching this project back in June, I found that almost every book in English on the Spanish Riding School is out of print, and the 400th anniversary videotape (which is excellent, by the way) is no longer available in the USA. I was able to get everything I needed through rare and used book dealers (thank you, Robin Bledsoe) or through inter-library loans but how many people will go to all that trouble?
We have to keep this project going, I have much too much money invested in my Lipizzan library!
Keeping the legend of the SRS alive in the USA will be tough when a new generation of young riders can't devour the books the way so many of us did as children and now, still do as adults. In Vienna, there are fantastic books available, but the text is only in German. The best books I used for research were translated from German and most were published in the 1970s.
So, the blog needs to evolve into something else, or we need to find a sponsor or something to keep it going. Suggestions?
One thing I think I should do is create a web-based photo album or slide show of my trip to Vienna and Piber (just the SRS photos) so you can see more of the behind-the-scenes images I have. Does anyone have suggestions how to do that or where to post it?
Thanks to all of you, you have made this project very real. I am one with you, a great fan of these horses and this institution. Let's go forward together.
Labels: Equisearch, Fran, Jurga, Riding, School, Spanish, Tour, USA, Vienna