Monday, 2 June 2014

In the embrace of the Lipizzaner

There is no Slovene, who would not at least hear of Lipica, if not visit it already. It’s the cradle of the world famous white Lipizzaner horses. Most of us first saw these noble beasts at the end of the school year, when we had our school excursion to Lipica

@Dušan Berdnik
The easiest way to reach Lipica is by motorway Ljubljana – Trst (Trieste) at the exit “Sežana – vzhod” and then just follow the signs for the remaining 5 kilometers. The stud farm at Lipica is the original stud farm where the bread of Lipizzaner began and it’s among the oldest cultivated horse breeds in the world. With a tradition of almost four and a half centuries it is among the oldest stud farms in the world as well and one of the most beautiful cultural-historical heritage sights of Slovenia, offering a home to 350 white horses. These noble horses come to world dark and are becoming gray as they mature until they in the end get the typical white colour. Fully matured dark horses are rear, but there is one such example of a black stud in Lipica today. The Stud farm was established in the distant year of 1580 on May 19th, when the archduke Charles II of the Habsburg dynasty bought the estate of Lipica in order to start breeding good horses for military and civil purposes. The beauty and spirit of the vivid Kars landscape are therefore woven into the very essence of the Lipizzaner horses. The conditions for breeding the Lipizzaner horses are optimal in Lipica, and they have also developed their own riding school. In 2011 a museum called the Lipikum opened its door at Lipica, in order to further emphasize the history and importance of these majestic horses. 

@Dušan Berdnik
Restless history, uncertain future
Since the establishment in 1580 and all the way to the modern times Lipica had its ups and downs. The state got new buildings over various periods of time. Around 1780 the entire estate covered 2317ha of area. As one might imagine, the times of wars were really troublesome times for the stud farm, which had seen its share of them: the Napoleonic wars, and both first and second world war. After the 2nd world war the stud house did not seem to have a future, but the stud house got a state visit in 1960 by the Yugoslavian president Josip Broz Tito and his wife. It was between 1970-80 that Lipica started gaining world recognition and has developed its own tourist offers. Despite all the harsh times in the past, the breeding of the horses has continued all the way until today.

@Dušan Berdnik
Lipica today
The stud house is still breeding horses and conducts the selection and training of the horses. It also keep the books on the pure bred horses blood lines and is active in advising how to breed the Lipizzaner horses. The stud house also protects the cultural heritage and is managing the real-estate at the site of the cultural heritage site. Among other things they also host events, which are mostly of cultural or horse breeding / horse riding nature. They also participate in protocol events on the national and international level. In 2008 the stud house was visited by Elisabeth, the queen of England, along with the archduke of Edinburgh. The stud house is also frequently visited by the Slovenian president Borut Pahor. At the entrance there is a large asphalt parking place, which is free of charge for the visitors of the stud house. At Lipica they also take a lot of care about animating the youngest visitors, so it’s a real family experience. There are play areas for children and they get to ride pony horses, or participate in various programs under the watchful guidance of the staff. The main program for the children takes place every Monday and it is called the Valentinčkov program.

@Dušan Berdnik
Several of the programs include petting, brushing, or feeding the horses, naturally under the supervision of the staff. So if you’ve ran out of ideas where to take the kids for a great birthday – at Lipica they offer a whole day programme for children birthday celebrations, which include horses! 

And for all of you backpackers and other travellers who hold the Hostelling International membership card, you are entitled to receive the student discount. The discount is valid for the guided tour of the stud house Lipica, the presentation of the classical horse riding school and the visit to the classical horse riding school. We also organize weddings and take you on a romantic ride by horse drawn buggy, through a Viennese alley of trees. The stud house offers something for each taste and is appropriate for visitors of all age groups. We assure you, it’s a place you will want to revisit after seen ig and every time you’ll take the spirit of the Lipizzaner with you.

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