Ride Around the World Horse: The Lipizzaner of Slovenia

In the spirit of this year's Ridefest theme, "Ride Around the World," we're going to explore a horse breed from across the world each week. 

The Lipizzaner


Environment: Cool temperate
Origin: 16th century
Blood: Warm
Colors: Gray
Uses: Saddle, Harness

The Lipizzaner is associated with Vienna's Spanish Riding School, the School horses are raised at Piber, near Graz in Austria. It is also bred extensively in Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovkia, and Slovenia, each country producing its own type, and in lesser numbers elsewhere in Europe. 


Breeding: The Lipizzaner descends from Spanish horses, taking its name from the stud at Lipica, in Slovenia. The stud was founded in 1580, when the Hapsburg Archduke, Charles II, imported nine stallions and 24 mares from the Iberian Peninsula. He wanted to ensure a supply of showy, predominantly white horses for the ducal stables at Graz and the court stables in Vienna. The Spanish School, so called because it used only "Spanish" horses, was founded for the instruction of the nobility in 1572. The present School, the Winter Riding Hall, was completed in 1735.

Characteristics: The conformation of the Lipizzaner is that of a useful, all-around cob. today, many Lipizzaners are used as much in harness as under saddle. The Hungarian-bred horses are superb carriage horses and, due to Thoroughbred influence, have more scope and freedom of movement. The breed is long-lived, many School horses continuing to perform difficult movements in their twenties.


Edwards, Elwyn Hartley; Langrish, Bob (PHT). “Lipizzaner.” Smithsonian Handbooks Horses, Dk Pub., pp. 144–145.

CJ BankheadRidefest, Event