Vienna's famed dancing stallions are put on diet after too many snacks

The traditional Spanish Riding School presents a performance program in the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria, May 13, 2009. Austria's famed dancing stallions are being put on a diet. The Spanish Riding School's Lippizaners are an ancient breed that has traditionally had more rounded forms than many others. Lilli Strauss/AP

VIENNA -- It seems that winter flab is not just a human problem: Austria's famed dancing stallions are being put on a diet.

The Spanish Riding School's Lippizaners are an ancient breed that has traditionally had more rounded forms than many others. But school head Elisabeth Guertler said Thursday some have piled on the pounds over winter, so "our horses must become skinnier."

Part of the problem appears to be too many winter snacks from stable attendants. The school says the white stallions' fodder is now being evaluated by a nutritionist, and the horses will be weighed twice a year. The average weight of a Lipizzaner is 1,150 pounds.

The horses are trained to perform intricate routines in harmony with music and are one of Vienna's main tourist attractions.

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