Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Lipizzaner Horse

From – Austria

Height – 15 – 16.1hh

Colour – At foals they are black but as they grow older they turn into grey. Although solid colours such as black, bay and chestnut have been found. 

Conformation – Handsome head with elegant, strong, thick neck; wide-set ears; considerable depth through to girth; well-sloped shoulders; strong body; thick tail; strong legs and silky mane and tail.        
Information – The Lipizzaner to the equine world is what Rudolph Nureyev was to ballet: even those who have never been on a horse could probably name this, one of the world's most beautiful horses. Indeed, the Lipizzaners at the famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna preform the most beautiful of 'dancers' including the famous leaps called 'airs above the ground'.  

The Lipizzaner endured several wartime relocations that prevented extinction of the breed. The first came in March 1797 during the First War of Coalition, when the horses were evacuated from Lipica. During the journey, 16 mares foaled. In November 1797, the horses returned to Lipica, but the stables were in ruins. They were rebuilt, but in 1805, the horses were evacuated again when Napoleon invaded Austria. They remained away from the stud for two years, returning April 1, 1807. However, following the Peace of Schonbrunn in 1809, the horses were evacuated three more times during the unsettled period in Austria, resulting in the loss of many horses and the destruction of the studbooks covering the years prior to 1700. The horses finally returned to Lipica for good in 1815, where they remained for the rest of the 19th century.  

Today, though found in many nations throughout Europe and North America, the breed is relatively rare, with only about 3,000 horses registered worldwide. The number of foals born each year is small, and breeders take extreme care to preserve the purity of the breed. Educational programs have been developed in order to promote the breed and foster adherence to traditional breeding objectives. The Lipizzaner today competes successfully in dressage and driving, as well as retaining their classic position at the Spanish riding school in Vienna.

Lipizzaner horses tend to mature slowly. However, they live and are active longer than many other breeds, with horses performing the difficult exercises of the Spanish Riding School well into their 20s and living into their 30s.

Because of the status of Lipizzans as the only breed of horse developed in Slovenia, via the Lipica stud, Lipizzans are recognized in Slovenia as a national animal. For example, a pair of Lipizzans is featured on the 20-cent Slovenian euro coins. Mounted regiments of Carabinieri police in Italy also employ the Lipizzan as one of their mounts. In October 2008, during a visit to Slovenia, a Lipizzan at Lipica, named 085 Favory Canissa XXII, was given to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. She decided to leave the animal in the care of the stud farm.

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