The formal Austrian Court stud farm Lipizza/Lipica, after the First World War the Italian military and later the Yugoslavian stud farm Lipica, is located on the karstic plateau 415 m above the sea level, 13 km northeast of Trieste in Slovenia. The whole region was shaded by hundred-year-old oak trees, by which the entire local karst was wooded till the Venusians cut them down and used them for poles to extend their city further into the lagoons. The forest around the Slovenian village Lipica remained preserved only because it was the property of the Trieste episcopate that had a farm set there with a small settlement/village; the area was well known for breeding tough and hardy horses, which the local citizens, who were mainly merchants, needed for the long commerce travels.

This was one of the reasons why then the regent over Steiermark, Karl von Steiermark, the son of Ferdinand I, purchased Lipica from the Trieste bishop in 1580, disband the settlement, modified the court into stables, added new stables and in the oak forest established pastures. This was the year after, when his nephew Rudolf I founded a stud farm in 1579 in Bohemia (today Czech Republic) in the Kladrubian manorial estate of the Pardubice domain.

At about the same time in 1580 there was imported from Spain to Lipica a herd of 24 original mares and three stallions from Andalusia (“brincos”). Later on, there were purchased for Lipica stronger horses from not far Polesina, Roviga, the Venice region and from around Verona, more likely to improve the massiveness of the Spaniard, who was supposed to serve first as a riding horse but could be used as a light draft/carriage horse as well. The first results with the Spanish stallions and the Italian crossbred mares were obviously very successful; the herd status fluctuated around 100 mares.

It is not possible to describe further the historical development of the horse breeding in Lipica. It is useful to mention that the names of the breeding horses from the early stages are not known. The first established studbook burned and the today preserved pedigrees go back only to 1701 and not even continuously. Never the less, they are showing that the original Spanish stallions were still imported in the XVII and XVIII centuries. In the beginning of the XVIII century came to Lipizza, through a mutual exchange, several Dutch and Danish stallions, which also had a great deal of the Spanish-Italian blood. From these northern stallions especially the Danish Lipp, born 1717, and thereafter from his progeny was chosen a breeding stock for more than a century. His most proven stallions from those days were the north-Italian and Spanish-Neapolitan stallions; Generale 1710, Amico 1712, Superbo 1722, Maestoso 1736, Toscanello 1749, Pluto, orig. Dutch stallion 1765, Conversano, orig. Spaniard Neapolitan 1767, Favory, Kladrubian stallion 1779, Neapolitano, orig. Spanish-Neapolitan 1790, Danese, orig. Dutch 1795.

19 yrs Lipizzan gray old Spanish type Pluto II, by 12 Pluto II out of 20 Neapolitano Capriola.

Besides the Spanish-Italian “carosiers” in the early stages of the Lipizzaner development, the Oriental stallions were used only sporadically. The more substantial and consistent use of the Oriental horses came at the beginning of the IX century, more likely with the intend to refine the contemporary form of the carriage horse, to add more speed to his gaits and to make him eventually useful as a riding horse. From these Orientals only one line managed to survive till today, the line of the Arabian stallion Siglavi 1810, which was of course numerously through-crossbred with other mares of the Lipizzan family as well as with other Lipica’s stallion lines.

11 yrs black Lipizzaner 81 Maestoso IV, by Maestoso I, out of 276 Neapolitano.
Measurements: 165, 187, 21 cm, weight 535 kg.

When the third court farm in “Kopchany”, established by Charles IV, was dissolved in Hungary near the Moravian border, it was decided in Vienna to breed the heavier carriage type horses in Kladruby by the river Elbe. Further more, the objective of Lipica was to become the breeding of the lighter type Spanish-Italian horses, which would be more useful for the saddle and would have more speed and endurance. This was to be achieved by crossbreeding with the Arabian horse, but always so, that at least part of the herd would remain intact (into the studbook were entered so called “rein Karster”, which is a Lipizzan of pure Karstic-Spanish-Italian type, against the “gemishter Karster”, which is a Lipizzan with more Arabian blood). There was for this reason added a herd of Arabians to Lipica from the “Kopchany” stables and the havier carosiers were relocated to Kladruby. In those days there were established individual lines of stallions and mares in Lipica and Kladruby, thus from that time it is spoken of the Kladrubian (Kladruber) and the Lipizzaner. This separation is justified, despite of the same origins, only from the perspective in size and massiveness.

By the end of the XVIII century in Europe it was only in these two stud farms where the pure Spanish-Italian horse managed to remain pure. The object in breeding at Kladruby was to preserve the havier, carosier type of horse, while in Lipica was added to the Spanish-Italian horses more of the Arabian blood to make them more suitable for riding as well as a lighter carriage. The Lipizzaners were used in Vienna for the high school near the castle at the Spanish riding arena, a beautiful baroque architecture build and finished by Joh. Bernard Fisher from Erlach in the year 1735. This high school was concurrently a test of strength, maneuverability, endurance and learning ability of the Lipizzan stallions, which as four-year-olds were coming to Vienna for at least two years or longer training. Any stallion that did not graduate with success this High School was not allowed back to Lipica as a breeding material.

Lipizzaner stallion Favory, Hungarian import, by Favory XVIII, out of 23 Maestoso XIX, Bábolna bred. At one time a main stallion in the Kladruby stud farm used for the blood refreshment of the Kladrubian grays.

From the Arabians, one of the best-proven stallions in Lipica was especially Siglavi 1810, who established after him self a line that was preserved till this day. To Lipica also arrived a large transport of Arabian horses (16 stallions and 50 mares) purchased in 1857 by colonel Brunderman in the desert from the Bedouin tribes in Syria and Arabia. However, from this transport remained in Lipica only two stallions, honey gray Samson, and silver gray Hadudy, furthermore 16 desert imported mares and one foal. It was in those days, in the middle of the XVIII century, that the Lipizzaners were crossbred the most with the Arabian. In those days a part of the breeding program in Lipica was to breed also pureblooded Arabians, but later this was abandoned because the Arabian progeny was too slender/delicate for riding at the court riding stables. The Arabian material was therefore moved to other state stud farms, outside of the mares and stallions used for crossbreeding with the Lipizzaners.

On the hard, stone paved streets of Vienna the Arabian crossbreds could not equal the Lipizzaner, and because it was constantly more noticeable that with further crossbreeding with the Arabian the Lipizzaner would lose his original type/form and invaluable characteristics, the use of the Arabian for crossbreeding in Lipica came suddenly to an end. The last Arabian stallions active in Lipica were: Arabian halfblood Ben Azet, “fly-gray” born 1851 and an original Arab Massaud, “trout-gray”, born 1869. From the older Arabians stallions there were mainly: Tadmor Or. Ar. 1834 and Gazlan Or. Ar. 1840, whose lines we can often see in the Lipizzaners pedigrees; especially in the line of Favory and Neapolitano is widely spread the blood of Gazlan.

301. Pluto XVII, out of Maestoso XIII, Bábolna bred. At one time a stallion in Slovakia. A Lipizzaner stallion, the type very close to the Old Kladruber gray.

From Kladruby to Lipica were often sent mares that came out of Kladrubian female stock by Arabians stallions and for the Kladrubian frame were too slim and too light. In those days the breeding stock exchange between the two stud farms was quite frequent. In the stallion stable of Kladruby stood usually one Lipizzaner with whom were mainly bred the rougher types of mares for the production of tough/hard “figural” horses used for pulling the postal wagons; the female crossbreds were not usually added to the Kladrubian herd, but were sent to Lipica instead.

It should be mentioned that there were some experiments made to improve certain week forms of the Lipizzaners, especially the less prominent withers, sometimes soft back, too steep shoulder blade, with the use of several English thoroughbreds, Northern Light, Millord, Pilgrim, Grimalkin Worthy and others. These experiments were a total failure because the progeny was absolutely unsuitable for the Lipizzaner type and the crossbreds were more or less a caricature of the Lipizzaner as well as the Kladruber.

Lipizzaner stallion Incitato, state stud farm in Bábolna, Hungary 1934

The balanced and refined posture of the Lipizzaner, his high but roomy gaits, at one time very much sought out, his lively temperament but with good character, durability, toughness, easy learning ability and further his undemanding upkeep were the reasons why the “left-over” stallions were added for the country-breeding in other parts of the southern Austrian empire like; Croatia, Slovenia, Herzegovina, Bosnia Dalmatia, Istria etc. From the surplus material of Lipica were founded breeds of Lipizzaners in other state and private stud farms in Austria-Hungary. In Hungary was established herd of Lipizzaners in Mezöhegyesh and Fogarash, later on in Bábolna and in the state Austrian stud farms Radovec and Piber. In Mezöhegyesh were the Lipizzaners bred already from the stud farm establishment in the year 1783 till 1874, when the whole herd of Lipizzaners was transferred to Fogarash stud farm. The most typical Mezöhegyesh stallion line was Maestoso, established by the Kladrubian Maestoso; further there were bred the lines of Favory and Conversano. Later there was established a new line Lipizzaners Incitato after the stallion Incitato, born 1807, born 1807, by Curioso out of Capallana, who was undoubtedly a stallion of Spanish- Italian origin. It seems however, that this line was not bred quite purely. The Incitato stallions were/are more massive, rougher and more lymphatic, stand on a longer leg, have havier head, are longer, lower set neck, thus they have pure karstic Lipizzaner type.

Two black Lipizzaners from the same mother; shaft gelding (right hand) by Solo Neapolitana, 5 yrs old, saddle mare (left hand) by Avara Nona, 4 year old. Slovakia.

In Fogarash were the Lipizzaners bred from 1874 till 1915. The Mezöhegyesh herd was completed from Piber and Lipica; hence all the original lines were represented there. Besides these, there were also present the lines of Incitato and Tulipan.

In the state stud farm in Piber was the Lipizzaner originally bred only for a short time, from 1853 to 1869 and with a material that came there from Lipica, Mezöhegyesh and Babolna.

In Radovec the Lipizzaners were bred from 1793 till 1914. The Lipizzan stallions were at first crossbred here with the Oriental mares and only later on there was established separate herd of Lipizzaners, which consisted of about 100 heads at the end of the 19th century. This herd included some oriental mares, which gave a foundation for new female lines that were not bred in Lipica. Some of these female lines managed to survive till this day in the Piber stud farm. From the Radovec herd came to Lipica Arabian mare Gratia, who proved herself well and became the founder of the individual female line, which was named after her great grand mother Mercurio.

Light palomino Lipizzaner mares in Slovakia.

After the beginning of WW I in 1914 the Radovec Lipizzaner breeding material was moved to Piber. From the cleaned out Lipica the original herd was evacuated to Laxemburg near Vienna and 3 age groups of the oriental young stock and foals were sent to Kladruby, where they remained through out the war till 1920.

The stud farm Fogarash was completely cleaned out at the beginning of the First World War and the Lipizzaner herd was moved to Bábolna in Hungary, where it remained and was bred after the war. Fogarash was annexed to Rumania after the war where there was placed a herd of Lipizzaners from the formal Radovec stud farm. This herd however, suffered the moon blindness and was therefore moved further into Rumania. After the Second World War the Fogarash stud farm was again renewed and in the fifties of the 20th century the head count was around 100 mares.

Quite a few Lipizzaners of the Hungarian stock and also from Lipica itself came to a private stud farm of count Jankovitch in Terezovec and Cabun. Here was bred the new line of Lipizzaners the Tulipan, which is however not quite pure bred. The Tulipans are of lower grade in exterior; they are roughfer, less correct, havier heads and stand on taller leg.

The majority of the original herd ended up in Italy and the long evacuated Lipica in Karst was again resettled. A smaller part of the herd kept the Austrians for the reproduction of stallions needed for the Spanish Riding School, where only as an attraction still today is ridden the high school (dressage). The Lipizzaner stud farm is in Piber, Steiermark.


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