10.COM 10.B.6

The Committee

  1. Takes note that Austria has nominated Classical horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna (No. 01106) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:

Classical horsemanship at the Spanish Riding School Vienna is the traditional art and practice of breeding, keeping, training and riding Lipizzaner horses. The School’s various social practices and culturally-shaped rituals and ceremonies are based on the long-lasting relationship between breeders, grooms, craftspeople, riders and horses. Grooms, the foals’ first point of contact, transmit basic knowledge of horse husbandry to cadets. Breeders tend to the horses and pair up stallions and mares to meet the demands of the School. Experienced riders and young cadets are responsible for the colts resulting in a special relationship between rider and horse. A cadet’s early years are spent learning proper horse care, maintenance and the correct handling and use of equipment. Experienced riders pass on knowledge to cadets through mentoring. Women now have an important role in this traditionally male domain, being equally admitted to all positions. Veterinary surgeons ensure the health of each horse while saddlers, blacksmiths, hatters, tailors and shoemakers are responsible for producing and maintaining the facilities. The tradition also gives communities within the School a strong sense of identity and ensures the safeguarding of techniques and craftsmanship in many fields related to horse husbandry.

  1. Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria:

R.1:   The groups of riders, students, grooms, breeders, craftspeople and other specialists involved in the classical horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna continue a long history of interrelationship between rural and urban centres of breeding and horsemanship, which provides them with a sense of identity and continuity; today’s ways of transmission and the social functions and cultural meanings of the element are demonstrated, although less so in reference to husbandry;

R.2:   Inscription of the element could raise awareness of the importance of intangible cultural heritage that incorporates the close relations between humans and animals, promotes respect for cultural and biological diversity, contributes to intercultural dialogue particularly between equestrians from various countries and regions, and creates more balanced gender relations in elements traditionally dominated by men;

R.3:   Past and current efforts to safeguard the element are described and future measures aimed at research, raising awareness and transmission will be supported by the Spanish Riding School Vienna and the commitment of the State Party;

R.4:   The equestrian team of the Spanish Riding School Vienna and other institutions involved participated in the nomination process and gave their free, prior and informed consent;

R.5:   Classical horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna were included in March 2010 in the Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage maintained by the Austrian Commission for UNESCO and updated annually.

  1. Inscribes Classical horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity;
  2. Commends the State Party for resubmitting this nomination, and for a video showing individuals involved in various capacities in the enactment and safeguarding of the element, along with demonstrating their attitudes and commitments;
  3. Reminds the State Party that expressions such as ‘purest form’, ‘false trends’, ‘unique’, ‘intact’ and ‘authenticity’ are not in conformity with the spirit of the Convention, even if they relate only to the understandings of the community concerned;
  4. Encourages the State Party to keep positioning the groups of riders, students, grooms, breeders, craftspeople and other concerned groups as central actors in the definition, enactment and safeguarding of the element, thus avoiding approaches that could freeze the element.

Top