The Lipizzan Horse Breed has over 400 years of select breeding, founded upon special selections of superior horses gathered up from all over the world. They possess beauty, nobility, courage, strength, ability, temperament, and intelligence. Lipizzans are majestic animals that are not known to many people. They have a lively gait and from what I hear and read, and most of all observe-they are a pleasure and a special treat to ride. They seem to have a natural nack for rhythm and maintain a very even tempo in all paces without constant cues from thier rider. They are also extremely quiet and steady under saddle. When I have had the pure luck to attend a showing of these magnificant equines (3X) I have never experienced one of these horses nervous, fidgety, or even throwing a minor fit-much is to be said about that!
Lipizzans are not tall horses. A large Lippizzan stands about 16 hands, but their proud carriage, muscular bodies, powerful movements/presence makes them appear much larger than they really are. This breed is late at maturing and very long lived, many times to 35 or more years of age. Foals are born black or bay and slowly turn “white” by the time they are five to eight years of age. Lipizzans are actually grey; their dark skin hidden under a white coat is not shown unless they are wet or have a scar. They are not fully grown in size until they are seven and do not reach full maturity until almost ten yo.
In 1943, the Lipizzan breed was threatened with extinction when the mares and foals from Austria, Italy, and Yugoslavia were transferred to Hostau in Czechoslovakia by the German High Command. Through the heroic efforts of the Spanish Riding School’s director, Alois Podhajsky, the school was saved but the performance stallions were not returned to the school until 1955. In 1945, the perpetuation of the breed was guaranteed by the American army, under the command of General Patton, which retrieved the mares and returned them to Austrian soil. Americans who recognized a part of human’s history connected to these wonderful horse.
Lipizzans are found beyond the borders of what was once the Austrian-Hungarian nations. With less than 3,000 purebred Lipizzans in the world,600 in the United States, the breed is rare, and the number of foals born each year is small. Care is taken by those involved in the breeding of Lipizzan horses to insure the purity of the breed.
It would be wonderful if more of these horses were bred. This is a breed of horse that can do anything that is asked of them. In my opinion, our horse world needs a lot more Lipizzans. I wish I could afford one! or maybe a Friesian…….