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a Lipizzan performing one of its signature leapsLipizzan

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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  The Robinson Library > Agriculture > Animal Culture > Horses > Breeds, A-Z

This page was last updated on July 29, 2015.

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