The end of male dominance has began as the over 450- year-old Spanish riding school of Vienna, renowned for its white horses and immaculate equestrianism, presented its first ever woman rider.
"I am so very proud to be here, which has nothing to do with being a woman," 29-year-old Hannah Zeitlhofer said. Back in 2008 the school in the center of Vienna opened its training to women. After eight years of learning Hannah Zeitlhofer will now be in charge of several horses as well teaching at the school. She says there is no battle of the sexes at the riding school, adding: "Here you are accepted 100 percent as a woman and I'm very pleased about that."
The riding school belongs to UNESCO's intangible World Heritage. Heading the institution since 2007 has been the entrepreneurial society dame Elisabeth Gürtler. The traditional school for Lipizzan horses in the Hofburg offers public performances as well as permitting public viewings of some training sessions making it a popular tourist attraction. Every year some 300,000 people visit the sold-out dressage performances in Vienna, the stables in Piber near Graz or the training center in the lower-Austrian Heldenberg.