Mohamed bin Zayed, Austrian Chancellor attend debut of Spanish Riding School’s White Ballet in Abu Dhabi

Photo: WAM

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and Austrian Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, today attended the renowned Spanish Riding School’s debut performance in the Middle East.

Presented at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi, the show was a culture-filled rendition of the famed White Ballet, where the art of the classic dressage was performed in its most beautiful and breath-taking form.

As a celebration of this historic debut, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed was gifted a Lipizzaner Stallion, Neopolitano Theodorosta, as a gesture of appreciation and gratitude by the Chancellor of Austria and CEO of the Spanish Riding School, Sonja Klima.

Born in 2009 in Piber stud (Styria), the stallion spent the first six months of his life together with his mother Theodorosta. After the age-related separation from his mother, he spent a short time on the farm Kampl (which is part of the stud), before he was transferred to the rearing stable for young stallions. At this station called "Wilhelm" he remained until the age of three, spending summer months with his herd on mountain pastures. After this undisturbed rearing he was transferred to Vienna in July 2012, as part of the "Piber meets Vienna" programme where his training as a Lipizzaner stallion commenced in which he has continuously excelled.

This gesture, from the Spanish Riding School, serves as a testament to the long-standing relationship between both Vienna and Abu Dhabi, which has exceeded forty years, in which diplomacy has been at the heart.

Commenting on this special occasion, H.H. Sheikh Mohamed expressed his appreciation for the gift: "Horsemanship and equestrian practices are deeply rooted within Middle Eastern and Arab culture and have formed key part of our identity throughout the decades, where they have always been closely associated with our heritage and civilization. I am honoured to accept this valuable gift and would like to express my sincere gratitude and deep appreciation to the renowned Spanish Riding School, and the Austrian Chancellor. This gift will always be treasured as a symbol of our unique relationship."

"I would also like to express my pride of the strong relationship that both the United Arab Emirates and the Republic of Austria hold. For so long, the two countries and their people have been sharing trust and faith in one another, and we look forward to seeing this relationship prosper further and reach even higher standards as time goes on," Abu Dhabi Crown Prince added.

As a response to His Highness’ welcome, the Chancellor of Austria said: "Austria and the United Arab Emirates have a strong and deep relationship on both the official and the grassroots level. This gift is a simple expression of gratitude towards the strength of these ties and as a sign of our common interest in the passion towards horses."

Born in 2009 in Piber stud (Styria), the stallion spent the first six months of his life together with his mother Theodorosta.

After the age-related separation from his mother, he spent a short time on the farm Kampl (which is part of the stud), before he was transferred to the rearing stable for young stallions.

At this station called "Wilhelm" he remained until the age of three, spending summer months with his herd on mountain pastures.

After this undisturbed rearing, he was transferred to Vienna in July 2012, as part of the "Piber meets Vienna" programme where his training as a Lipizzaner stallion commenced in which he has continuously excelled.

Neopolitano Theodorosta belongs to the unique European breed of Lipizzaner. Despite being a breed of horse originating from the famed region of Lipica in Slovenia which is synonymous with the stud farms, it is a descendant from the Arab world as it has blend of Arab and Spanish blood, furthering the connection to the United Arab Emirates.

The beautiful Lipizzaner stallions and their talented riders are set to leave the capital in awe in the next two days, promising to offer horse-lovers and entertainment-seekers an unprecedented experience filled with culture, beauty and talent while simultaneously blowing their minds and captivating their hearts.

On the school’s debut in the Middle East, the CEO of the Spanish Riding School, Sonja Klima said: "We are extremely honored to be in Abu Dhabi and the UAE for the first time to showcase and share our passion towards equestrianism and horses with an audience that shares the same passion. For this reason, we would like to extend our appreciation to His Highness by presenting to him one of the school’s horses. We hope this show will leave something in the hearts of the UAE residents allowing us to share our passions in further occasions to come."

Borealis has a long history of working in close partnership with ADNOC, solid business ties and a strong economic relationship with the UAE, and we are delighted to be able to present the UAE's equestrian community with this spectacular experience of sport, art and culture", said Alfred Stern, CEO of Borealis.

Attending the performance were H.H. Lt. General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior; H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation; Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Tolerance; H.H. Sheikha Hessa bint Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Khalifa bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Director of the Martyrs' Families' Affairs Office at the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court; Sheikh Dr. Hazza bin Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills; Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State; and Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority.

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