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Sat, Feb. 22

Renowned stallions to perform 'equestrian ballet' at fairgrounds<BR>

PRESCOTT VALLEY –The descendents of Spanish war stallions will dance and jump through Prescott Valley's Coors Arena this week in an exhibition of the fine equestrian art.

The Lipizzaner Stallions are famous for executing tricky leaps and maneuvers used by their ancestors in the heat of battle. They will perform on Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. An additional performance will be held on Saturday at 2 p.m.

The six bloodlines of the Lipizzan breed originated from Arabic and Spanish breeds.

The original Lipizzaner stallions were bred in Carthage, Tunisia. Their genetic structure combines the sturdy Vilano, a breed from Spain's Pyrenee Mountains, with horses used by Bedouin tribes to traverse the Sahara.

Moorish Rulers helped the breed thrive and develop during their 700-year stay in Spain. As the Moors receded, Spanish breeders began exporting the horses throughout Europe.

Austrian Emperor Archduke Maximilian appreciated the horses and began breeding them in the mid-1500s. Austrian governors eventually established a royal stud farm in Lipizza, located in Slovenia's Karst Mountains.

The horses learned stamina and strength in the craggy, dry mountain range. The Austrian and Italian governments appreciated these attributes and used the horses for military purposes throughout the 1800s.

After years of refinement in the Karst range, the horses were accepted into the legendary Spanish Riding School of Vienna.

Their breed almost became extinct in the Napoleanic Wars, and World War I and World War II. General George Patton arranged the rescue of 150 Lipizzaner horses during WWII during an attack on the German city of Hostau.

About 700 Lipizzaner Stallions are alive today, and as many as 14 will perform in Prescott.

They will execute different maneuvers such as the capriole, in which the horse leaps into the air and performs a powerful kick with its hind legs.

The Airs Above the Ground is the horses' world-renowned routine that combines the capriole with several other maneuvers, all to the sounds of European master composers.

Call (800)882-8258 or 775-8000 for ticket information.

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