To anyone who has seen the beautiful white stallions of the Spanish Riding Academy of Vienna, Austria, they are the personification of perfect rhythm and harmony with their riders.
This riding establishment is rooted in antiquity, at a time when riding was held in high esteem. When the oldest book was handwritten by Xenophon about 400 B.C., horsemanship was considered an art rather than a hobby. His words on training and treatment of the horse could form the contents of a modern book. But, wars and migrations of nations caused a decline, and it was not until the 16th century that riding again found favor.
Personal combat made necessary the expertise of horse and rider, and at this time the first important schools appeared at Rome and Naples. The first riding master, often called the “father of the art of riding,” was the Neapolitan nobleman, Federigo Grisone. He had a large number of students and wrote a book on riding in 1552.