The history of the Lipizzaner PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 December 2009 08:52

The history of the Lipizzaner started in 1580, when Charles II of Austria established the studfarm in Lipiza in today’s Slovenia. The aim was to breed a horse suitable for the imperial court: excellent, resistant, impressive, which would express richness and splendor in its character. At the origin of the species are the horses from the mountains, resistant, having strong personality, and the stallions originating from Naples and Spain. The first import from Spain had great importance, it included 24 mares of Arabian origin and 9 stallions. On the other hand, the eastern influence is of equal importance, namely the Arabian mares from Radauti and Babolna. After the initial selection focusing on the requirements of the founder, they switched to pure breeding. In order to exclude the disadvantages of incest, starting from the 18th century they initiated breeding according to genealogical lines. Thus the classical 8 lines of stallions, 17 classical families of mares were formed, as well as the next families of mares acknowledged until these days: 14 Croatian, 1 Slovenian, 13 Hungarian and 14 Romanian, which show the uniqueness of the species.


The five stallions establishing the lines and having Spanish-Italian origin was followed by a purely Arabian stallion. These are the following:

  • NEAPOLITANO- dun of origin from Naples, born in 1790
  • CONVERSANO- black of origin from Naples, born in 1767
  • FAVORY- yellow, born in the stud from Kaldruby in 1779.
  • MAESTOSO- grey of Spanish origin, born in 1773
  • PLUTO-grey of Spanish origin, born in the Danish royal stud from Frederiksborg in 1765
  • SIGLAVY CAPRIOLA- grey, Arabian born in the Kladruby stud in 1765


In the stationing period in Mezohegyes, Hungary the stallion INCITATO of Spanish origin, born in the stud in Beclean in 1810 became the founder of the line. The list of the stallions as founders of genealogical lines ends with the stallion TULIPAN of Lipizzan origin already, born in Terezovat, Slovakia in 1896. These 8 genealogical lines are acknowledged until the present.


During its history, the Lipiza stud came across many adventures, changing its owner several times. In the Napoleonic wartimes it was often moved from strategic considerations. In this way it moved to Mezohegyes, Hungary twice, in 1801 and 1812-1815. When moving it back a part of the stock remained in Mezohegyes, forming a new stud farm. From here it was moved to Sambata de Jos in 1874, near Fagaras, where it got in subalpine climatic conditions similar to those in Lipiza. These conditions contributed largely to the shaping of the characteristics of this breed. From here it was moved again to Babolna in 1912, from where in the 1950s it was transferred definitely to Szilvasvarad, in the Bukk mountains.


After the dissipation of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy the Lipiza stud got in Italian ownership, later to Jugoslavia. At the moment it belongs to Slovenia. Its main core was moved to Piber, in Staer, Austria, where it is bred in the original conditions. The best stallions get the highest class dressage, at the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, from where the best ones are taken back to the stud farm as sires. Considering that the Lipizzan is the product of the monarchy, the most important studs breeding Lipizzaners are in central Europe: in Slovenia- Lipiza, Croatia- Dacovo, in Austria- Piber, Hungary- Szilvasvarad, in Romania- Sambata de Jos si Beclean, the Czech Republic- Kaldruby, Slovakia- Topolciansky, in Italy- Montenegro.


In Romania, the stud farm in Sambata de Jos was re-established in 1920 from the remaining stock, with purchasing from private owners, as well as with the Lipizzan stock left in the possession of the army. An important stock got back from the Todireni stud, Botosani county. The stock gathered by this in the reestablished stud was extremely diverse, with a lot of flaws, like short stature (149 cm), big and heavy head, convex profile, too long back and loin, the rump having the tendency to be horizontal, tight chest, and shuffle pace. Starting from 1953, with hard work, progressive selection and supervised coupling , as well as proper nutrition the augmentation of the stature has been achieved: until 158 cm at stallions and 155 cm at mares, their weight has increased, the shape of the head, the line of the back, the pace and the breadth have been improved.


In 1955 the Dalnic stud farm was established in Covasna county with mares brought from Sambata de Jos. Unfortunately, it was eradicated in 1961. In 1981 it was re-established again with mares from Sambata de Jos, yet eradicated again in 2003. The reestablished stud has the merit of bringing the stallion INCITATO X-35from Szilvasvarad through exchange, which founded the INCITATO line in Romania. In this way all the eight genealogical lines of the Lipizzaners are to be found in Romania.


In 1988 the Lipizzaner from Sambata de Jos was divided into two groups according to color. The grey ones remained at Sambata de Jos, and the colored stock( dun and black) was moved to Bontida, Cluj county, from where it was transferred to Beclean, Bistrita county.Today in Romania there are two studs that breed the Lipizzaner: the Sambata de Jos stud with approximately 70 mares and Beclean, with 20 mares.


After the change of regime in 1990 purchasing and breeding horses became possible by private owners as well. Their exacting and professional work made it possible to found The Association of Private Breeders of the Lipizzaner from Romania in 2003, which is responsible for registering, branding, classifying the Lipizzaner, as well as it keeps the Stud-book of the species being in private ownership. Keeping the genetic basis, promoting the values of the species has been closely followed by the LIF, which has members from over 30 countries from the world. The Association of Private Breeders of the Lipizzaner from Romania has been a member of LIF with full rights since 2007.


The beauty, intelligence, attractive appearance, elegant movement, characteristic color and especially its ability to carry out the tasks of the dressage school elegantly and easily, and the skills shown at carriage-driving races make the Lipizzaner acknowledged and spread all over the world.


The Kladrub stud produced Maestoso and Favory, two of the foundation sires of today’s Lipizzan. Of the sires used during the 18th and 19th centuries, only six established sire lines: Conversano, black, a Neapolitan, born in 1767; Favory, dun, transferred from Kladrub, born in 1779; Maestoso, grey, a crossbred by a Neapolitan sire and out of a Spanish dam, transferred from Kladrub, born in 1819; Neapolitano, bay or brown, from another Neapolitan sire, born in 1790; Pluto, grey, of Spanish origin, from the Danish stud, born 1765; Siglavy, grey, an Arabian, born in 1810.


y the 1800s, there were no longer any original Spanish horses available, and Arabians were used to strengthen the lines. Of the seven Arabian stallions used, only Siglavy founded a separate dynasty. Two other stallion lines which did not find favor at the Lipizza stud were perpetuated at other studs within the boundaries of the Austrian empire. The Tulipan (Croatia) and Incitato (Transylvanian-Hungarian) lines are still found in Yugoslavia, Hungary, and other eastern European countries as well as North America. In addition to the sire lines, 35 mares established dominant families which are recognized today. Each country established traditions in naming, branding, and otherwise identifying Lipizzans.

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 December 2009 15:47


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