Spanish Riding School: too little movement for the stallions
The fact that the stallions have insufficient opportunities for movement is one of the points criticized by the Austrian Court of Audit (ACA) in its report published today on the "Spanish Riding School – Lipizzaner Stud Piber". From the available records, the auditors could not verify whether the Lipizzaner, which are accommodated in the imperial stables of the Stallburg in the city centre of Vienna, were given the opportunity to move at least once a day – either in the framework of the training or in the horse walker. The auditors furthermore note that due to economic pressure the stallions were put into service at a frequency that was detrimental to the horses’ health. Moreover, stallions were used for performances whose physical constitution did not allow for such use. The ACA therefore recommends to improve the husbandry conditions for the stallions in Vienna.
The Spanish Riding School – Lipizzaner Stud Piber is a company under public law that is wholly owned by the Republic of Austria. The audited period spans the years from 2014 through 2019. The auditors also took into account the recent developments in 2020, such as the implications of the Corona pandemic.
The Spanish Riding School has faced financial problems already since its spin-off in 2001 – hence long before the Corona pandemic. In its report, the ACA critically notes that the company’s economic existence was even at risk in 2014.
Since 2009, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has granted the company an annual breeding subsidy, which has been, from an economic point of view, an indispensable part of the company’s revenue. According to the ACA’s viewpoint, the pledge of an annual financial allowance – of up to one million EUR – to the company cannot provide medium-term planning security since the pledge always relates to one year only.
The ACA recommends to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to substitute the annual financial allowances to the company with a subsidy in the form of a multiannual basic compensation. Such a compensation payment should be based on the regulations already in place for other cultural institutions, such as museums or federal theatres.
Furthermore, the auditors recommend to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to conclude a binding multiannual service agreement with the company in order to ensure efficient service provision and financing.
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Report: Spanish Riding School – Lipizzaner Stud Piber (in German)
The ACA audited the Spanish Riding School – Lipizzaner Strud Piber, which is a company under public law wholly owned by the Republic of Austria. The audit aimed at assessing the economic viability, its impact on tourism, the governance via the responsible ministry as the owner representative and the legal provisions on animal protection. The audited period spanned the years from 2014 through 2019. Furthermore, the ACA took into account the recent developments in 2020.