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The Lipizzan horse – a baroque style

Published: 2022-09-12 10:27:45 Categories: Guides Rss feed

The Lipizzan inherited most traits from its Iberian ancestors including a baroque physique. It has a strong neck, barrel, and croup on light, slim legs. Lipizzans are athletic and move with ease. In this article, you can read all about their ancestry and where they are bred nowadays.

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Lipizzan - history of the breed

Charles II Francis of Austria in 1580 allowed for the introduction of Iberian horses to his stable in Lipizza (now Lipica), located in modern-day Slovenia, and therefore is considered to be the creator of the Lipizzan breed. In Lipizza Iberian, Frederiksborger, Kladruber and Neapolitan horses were crossed with local horse breeds (including Karster).

In 1814 an Arabian stallion Siglavy (b. 1810) was bought in Aleppo by Charles Philippe de Schwarzenberg and brought to the Lipizza stable. Siglavy became the forefather of a new line of Lipizzans as well as other breeds such as the Anglo-Arabian and the Shagya Arabian. Members of the Siglavy line became extremely popular and found their way into all Lipizzan studs. Especially famous is the branch of this line originated by the stallion named Siglavy Capriola I, whose descendants were of such excellent quality that this double-naming system has been maintained to this day. Other “founding fathers” of the many lines of Lipizzan horses are Conversano, Neapolitano, Pluto, Maestoso, and Favory. Two of the more distant Lipizzan lines Tulipan and Incitato are located in Hungary.

Nowadays studs are managed in the many countries of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire as well as in Italy. In Austria, official breeding is carried out at the national stud in Piber, Styria (in an area once administered by the breed's creator, Charles II Francis). Horses from the stud in Piber are sent to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, where they are trained in high school dressage. In other countries, the breed is used as working horses.

koń-lipicański (2)Horses brought from the stud in Piber to the Spanish Riding School in Vienn

Lipizzan horses – physique and characteristics

Lipizzans share many physical characteristics with horses from the Iberian Peninsula including the beforementioned Iberian horse (Andalusian horse). Lipizzans have an expressive head on an immense, high, swan neck. The breed’s profile is convex or straight or sometimes dished as seen in oriental horses. Their barrel is long and deep with an improperly muscled back, short shoulders, and less prominent withers. The croup is short, straight, and well-muscled. The strong legs are disproportionate to the entire body and are short and slim (postural flaws may occur).

Some Lipizzans paddle – while walking in a straight line before stepping the horse makes a circular movement outward with its foot. Paddling is therefore a gait defect that appears in walking and trotting.

Achievable height: 148-164 cm

Body weight: 450-585 kg

Coat colors: practically only gray, very rarely bay or black (horses turn gray after 6-7 years of age)

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Lipizzaner horse - usage

As mentioned, Lipizzaner horses are often used in the discipline of dressage, trained in the so-called high school dressage, pioneered by the Spanish (mainly the Spanish Riding School in Vienna). They are also suitable as parade horses.

Due to their light, smooth movement despite their athletic conformation, they also work well in all-around riding - easy jumping or harness riding. These horses are intelligent, obedient, and, in addition, temperamental and sensitive, so they will not necessarily do well in recreational riding. They need an experienced rider, who can put plenty of attention and work into them and reap the benefits of their attachment and loyalty.

Thanks to their strength, they are also used in agriculture for farm work.


Lipizzan horse - price

Prices of Lipizzan horses start at around 25 thousand PLN and depend on the age, pedigree and level of training of the horse. The most expensive horses reach prices up to more than 200 thousand PLN.

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Lipizzan, despite being a less popular breed, is certainly one that makes a lasting impression. Characterized by their weightless and smooth movement, stocky but noble and proud silhouette. The level cap of their training is also impressive, which is displayed in performances, demonstrations, and performances of the high school of dressage.