If you like horses, you’ll love Lipica. As well as being a beautiful place to visit for all the family, it is also home to some of the most famous horses in the world. Today we visit the Lipzzaner stud farm.
History of the Lipizzan Horse
The Lipizzaner breed was founded in 1580, when the town of Lipica (Lipizza in Italian) was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was created from Spanish, Arabian and Berber stock to be a horse fit for royalty. Cross-breed Iberian-Arabic horses were renowned in Spain as uniquely suited to the art of classical horse riding, and Archduke Karl von Habsburg wanted to breed his own ‘Spanish’ horses on what was then Austrian soil. So he founded the stud farm at Lipica and began to breed the first Lipizzan horses.
These horses were bred to be used in the Spanish Riding School of the Habsburg court at Vienna. The horses were moved from Lipica at the outbreak of WW1, being too close to the Italian lines, but the stud farm has since reopened and the famous horses are still bred there, as well as at Piber in Austria.
Visiting the Stud Farm
The stud farm is a pleasant place to spend a summer afternoon; I used to live in Epsom close to the famous Epsom Downs racecourse, and the rolling green fields and tree-lined terraces of Lipica remind me a lot of the Surrey hills. There are plenty of parks and playgrounds where the kids can let off steam, and meet the famous grey-white horses. The foals are usually brown or black in colour, as you can see in the featured image of this post. They do not attain their classic coat until adulthood.
In summer, the Stud Farm is open to visitors, and there is a full timetable offering the chance to see the horses in action and to meet them close-up. You can also take part in activities such as carriage rides and pony trekking, so it is a great place for a family day out in fine weather. Bring a picnic, and relax in the summer sun and soak up the peaceful ambiance.
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