Harald Bauer, Spanish Riding School Rider, Has Died: There's A Tragically Empty Saddle in Vienna

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"With deep sadness we announce that our colleague, friend and longtime companion Rider Harald Bauer has passed away. In this difficult time, we extend our condolences to his family and relatives."

A memorial for Harald Bauer at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. (Spanish Riding School photo)

A memorial for Harald Bauer at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. (Spanish Riding School photo)

The management and staff of the Spanish Riding School - Federal Stud Piber

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This news is very difficult to write: A veteran rider of the Spanish Riding School of Vienna has been found dead at the School. According to news reports, the cause of death is probably suicide.

Harald Bauer was well known in the United States. He gave clinics in Texas and Maryland, and had toured the USA with the School in 2005.

Most recently, I believe Harald was riding Conversano Undine I. He had described his mount this way: "He is an unfailingly reliable and willing partner."

I remember Harald Bauer as a cheerful, friendly fellow who liked a good joke--I sometimes got the feeling that I was the subject of some of his German-only jokes! When he put his foot in the stirrup, he was all business, however, and audiences thrilled at his work in the performances of the school.

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Harald Bauer's death comes just two months before the school's tour to London, where the riders will perform with the British dressage team's Carl Hester and World Champion Para Dressage rider Lee Pearson. The tour had recently added another day to the program.

Melanie Adams reported on a clinic Harald conducted in 2006 for the Mid Atlantic Lipizzan Association in Maryland. She wrote:

"It didn't matter what level the rider was, Harald expressed enthusiasm, kindness and great patience with each and every rider.?Each time Harald rode, it was a thrill to watch, and an experience one will never forget.? Every part of his body was in tune with the horse, and?the horse responded to him as well.

This is very sad news for the horse world. Harald Bauer brought me great joy and pleasure when I watched him ride, throughout his career. Once again the problems and sadness of the real world seem to have seeped into the inner sanctuary of one of the most beautiful traditions of the horse world. We always think of the reiters as princes but they are real people. It was always a bit un-nerving to see them in "street" clothes but surely each of them does have a private life.

Will we always have Vienna? Will it always be there like a perfect little music box that you can just wind up and make the Lipizzaners dance? Will the toy riders always solemnly doff their pointed hats to the portrait of Emperor Karl (Charles) VI on the far wall as they enter the hall? Will the waltzes never end, will the horses dance forever?

Wind up your own music box, or go to? YouTube and watch some of the great Spanish Riding School videos that are buried there. Turn up the volume. And then write a letter to Vienna, and let them know you care, if you do.

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