LIPICA, Slovenia -- There are probably people who fly to Vienna
with one goal in mind -- to see the famous white Lipizzaner horses
perform at the Spanish Riding School.
They might be surprised to learn that the horses originally came
from the Slovenian village of Lipica, where they are bred and
trained for their celebrity life.
Lipizzaners are recognized by equestrian experts as the finest
horses in the world, based on their intelligence, grace, strength
and sociability. The Lipizzaners are purebreds whose lineage dates
back to medieval times.
The Lipica Stud Farm was founded in 1580 by Austrian Archduke
Charles, who wanted to an elite stock of horses for Vienna's
Spanish Riding School.
Lipizzaners were bred using a combination of the Andalusian
horse from Spain and the Karst breed from Lipica favored by leaders
in the Roman Empire. Later, Arabian horses were added to the
In the wake of World War II, nearly all of the horses were moved
outside of Slovenia. The stud farm began operations again after the
war with 11 horses.
The horse show, performed in a gymnasium-like structure to
polkas and waltzes, lasts about 40 minutes. Two to four riders and
their Lipizzaners demonstrate the ability to march, kick and turn
in formation. A spectacle, this is not.
The tour of the horse farm is more interesting. Here you can pet
the Lipizzaners and learn about their rigorous workout schedule.
Lipica can boast that it is the only place in the world where
visitors have the chance to ride the Lipizzaners.