Spanish Riding School ‘gallops towards bankruptcy’

Vienna’s famous Spanish Riding School (SRS) has caused a media storm with reports today (Tues) claiming the institution suffered losses of 400,000 Euros last year.Two of the SRS’s four head riders suspended from work in 2009 after being at odds with SRS boss Elisabeth Gürtler were still on full wages report the dailies and says Greens MP Wolfgang Zinggl: “The SRS will financially collapse in two years if this is true.”Zinggl said he planned to confront People’s Party (ÖVP) Environmental Minister Nikolaus Berlakovich – whose ministry supervises the SRS – by filing a motion in the federal parliament. “Taxpayers have a right to hear what happens with their money,” Zinggl said.Gürtler meanwhile refused to reveal how much the dismissed chief equestrians earned. The former organiser of the State Opera Ball claimed “data protection reasons” prevented him from releasing the information.In December an unnamed rider complained the school’s distinctive Lipizzaner stallions were under too much pressure after the number of performances was doubled.But Gürtler dismissed the claims as “nothing new”.”There is not a stable in the world where all horses are healthy all the time,” she said at the time.Several shows had to be called off three months later after 20 of the top tourist attraction’s 72 horses developed an acute coughing infection.