National Geographic : 1958 Sep
Quickly the colonel packed the school's trophies, hid the great chandeliers, rolled up the huge portrait of Charles VI, and put his charges aboard a westbound freight. Strafed and bombed, the train crawled haltingly through the night like a wounded animal, zig zagging, hiding in tunnels, waiting for blown rails to be replaced. The 250-mile journey to St. Martin im Innkreis took six days. Relatively safe in a castle once used as a stage on the old coach route, the white horses waited patiently while the broken Nazi divi sions reeled back upon Germany and the American XX Corps took over. On the last day of the war in Europe, Gen. George S. Pat ton, Jr., and Under Secretary of War Robert Patterson attended a special performance of the school troupe in their honor. At its conclusion the colonel, mounted on his favorite stallion, rode alone to the gen eral's box, saluted with a wave of his gold cockaded hat, and formally requested Patton to place the school under American military Kings at the Congress of Vienna Look Down on an Equine Carrousel In the same magnificent hall used by today's Spanish Riding School, notables of 1814 watched Austria's foremost equestrians tilt at turbaned heads, prance in the quadrille, and practice leaps. At other periods the hall housed the Stock Ex change and the Parliament. 406 Sound and fury but no blood issued from the tournament of 1843 in honor of Archduke Charles. Costumed "Roman" knights flailed ceremoniously but harmlessly at one another in stylized maneu vers. Stirrups-never used by Romans-provided an unauthentic touch.