show horse extraordinaire
The Lipizzan traces its
ancestry back to 1580, when Archduke Charles II
established a studfarm in Lipizza, where he bred
Andalusians, Barbs and Berbers to the local Karst
horses. The result was a breed that possesses
beauty, nobility, courage, strength, ability,
temperament and intelligence, qualities that make
the Lipizzan one of the most graceful and popular
show horses in the world.
The largest Lipizzan stands
about 16 hands, with most being smaller.
Lipizzans are born black or bay and slowly turn
"white" by the time they are five to
eight years of age. They are not fully grown in
size until they are seven and do not reach full
maturity until almost ten years of age; they can
live 35 years or more.
The Lipizzan studfarm was a
private possession of the Habsburg monarchy until
1916. After World War I,
the large Austrian-Hungarian Empire was divided
into several new republics, and every new state
inherited the possessions of the former monarchy.
The breeding stock of the Lipizzan studfarm --
which at that time numbered a mere 208 individual
horses -- was divided among three different
countries. Although Lipizzans are now found
beyond the borders of what was once the
Austrian-Hungarian Empire, there are less than
3,000 purebred Lipizzans in the world. The best
known Lipizzans -- the ones seen by millions of
adoring fans around the world -- are those
trained at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna,
which almost single-handedly saved the breed from
extinction during World War II.
Lipizzan Association of North America
World War I
World War II
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