Andras Hausberger, chief rider at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, has been fired effective immediately after forty years of service on 7 March 2023.
In addition he has been banned from the premises and removed from the official website.
Alfred Hudler, managing director of the Spanish Riding School, made this decision.
Since September 2022 Hudler has been at the helm of the SRS and it was hoped that after years of scandals under the direction of Elisabeth Gürtler and Sonja Klima, the institution would be led into more quiet waters.
Gürtler and Sonja Klima were in office between 2007 and 2022 but under their leadership chief riders Johann "Hans" Riegler, Klaus Krzisch, Herwig Radnetter, and Wolfgang Eder (he retired at age 65) all left.
The termination of Hausberger's contract has caused yet another shock wave in Vienna as the UNESCO protected intangible heritage institution is seemingly bleeding to a slow death. It's situation is being compared to Titanic by the Austrian press.
No reasons were initially given for this serious disciplinary step. Hausberger declined to comment after consultation with his lawyer.
Several days after the termination, the SRS and the Ministry of Agriculture issued a joint statement, mentioning that "Mr. Andreas Hausberger repeatedly failed to fulfill his responsibilities and was released from service with immediate effect due to misconduct by the Spanish Riding School." Details of what Hausberger's misconduct was specifically about were not made public.
The shock wave was allegedly caused by an angry letter penned by Hausberger and sent to Hudler.
According to Pferderevue.at, this letter "criticizes, among other things, the systematic excessive demands placed on the stallions and the level of cavalry at the Spanish, which has been steadily declining for 15 years. The latter culminates in a pas de deux, which is similar to the level of an A or L dressage. As a head trainer, you are now being mobbed by spectators, whether you are not ashamed of what is being presented."
Pferderevue further posted that Hausberger "demanded from Hudler to bring about a system change as quickly as possible for the well-being of the Spanish Riding School and the Piber Stud or to resign as managing director".
In a tv interview former chief rider Klaus Krzisch agrees that "it's been going on for 15 years. It's a catastrophe. It's truly a pity that this institution is in such derelict condition and no longer recognized all over the world and certainly no longer on the riding scene."
Hausberger was one of the mainstays of the Spanish Riding School. He was part to the ever smaller group of trainers taught by the older generation of senior riders according to the principles of classical dressage for which the school was world famous in its glory days under chief riders Alois Podhajsky and Georg Wahl, for instance.
Hausberger worked at the Spanish Riding School for almost 40 years and was the longest serving chief rider at the SRS. He arrived in Vienna in 1984 and was appointed rider in 1993. He was made chief rider in 2007. He himself has been in charge of training the current generation of riders and horses at the Spanish Riding School which he now criticizes.
Hausberger was appointed according to the traditional system - by vote of the incumbent head rider. His ex-colleagues Rudolf Rostek and Herbert Seiberl received their status in 2019 from the management.
Andreas has also been training and assisting competitive dressage riders, Olympic champion Jessica von Bredow-Werndl, her brother German World Champion team gold medal winner Benjamin Werndl as well as the Rothenbergers amongst others.
Sources: Proferd.at - Krone.at - Pferderevue.at
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