- Takes note that Austria has nominated Classical horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna (No. 00857) for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
The High School of classical horsemanship sees the horse as a partner rather than a subordinate, and bases its training on kindness and rewards. The Spanish Riding School in Vienna teaches the final stage in classical horsemanship, including challenging exercises such as dressage and jumps. Its community includes the riders and chief riders, the students, and the stable master and grooms who work with the horses every day. The small Lipizzaner horses are bred specifically to perform the exercises, and breeders rely on their extensive knowledge of bloodlines and the individual horses’ characters and mental and physical capabilities. The skills are passed on orally by the experienced riders to students who are responsible for the horses’ care. The most dedicated candidates are put in charge of a young horse with the aim of performing in public at the School Quadrille. This requires great mental concentration and performance skills as well as the ability to represent the school and takes between ten and fourteen years of training. Students who graduate to the equestrian team are presented with spurs and a bicorn hat at a formal ceremony.
- Decides that, from the information included in the file, the nomination satisfies the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List:
R.3: Past and current efforts to safeguard the element are described, and future measures aimed at maintaining high standards for breeding and training will enjoy the support of the Spanish Riding School Vienna itself and the commitment of the submitting State;
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 Austrian Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage, maintained by the Austrian Commission for UNESCO.
- Further decides that the information included in the file is not sufficient to allow the Committee to determine whether the following criteria for inscription on the Representative List are satisfied:
R.1: Although classical horsemanship and the Spanish Riding School Vienna have long histories, the nomination does not adequately explain the nature or scope of the element nor does it describe its social functions or cultural meanings;
R.2: Given that the nature and scope of the element are not clearly defined, its inscription on the Representative List would not contribute to enhancing the visibility of intangible cultural heritage; moreover, the nomination does not clearly explain how it would contribute to encouraging dialogue among communities and promoting respect for cultural diversity and human creativity;
- Decides to refer the nomination of Classical horsemanship and the High School of the Spanish Riding School Vienna to the submitting State Party and invites it to resubmit the nomination to the Committee for examination during a following cycle;
- Recalls the importance of using appropriate vocabulary and avoiding expressions such as ‘authenticity’, ‘carrying on the tradition in its purest form’ and ‘virtually unchanged over centuries’.