Royal Show: Lipizzaners’ South African keeper dies

2008-05-29 00:00

On Tuesday, the same day that the Lipizzaner stallions and Soweto String Quartet performed at the Royal Agricultural Show in Pietermaritzburg, the sole launcher of Lipizzaner stallions in South Africa, Major George Iwanovski, died at his home in Poland.

Iwanovski, a champion horse racing rider and show jumper, immigrated to South Africa in 1951.

That same year at the RAS, he met Count Jankovich Besan, who, like a few others, felt the need to protect and preserve the rare breed by bringing some of the famous Viennese stallions to South Africa.

Besan offered Iwanovski a Lipizzaner stallion to train. Being familiar with the Spanish Riding School in Vienna (the only other school to train this rare, beautiful breed of white stallions), he decided to launch an academy of his own in Johannesburg.

He started training a herd of eight horses, whose popularity have grown over the 60 years that they have been dazzling audiences.

Their joint performance with the Soweto String Quartet at the RAS this year was described as being a “world-class performance”, by RAS general manager Terry Strachan.

“A special commemorative performance celebrating the life of Major George Iwanovski will be held at the Lipizzaner Centre, Kyalami (JHB) on Sunday June 1,” said the director of SA Lipizzaners, Judy Vertue.

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