National Stud Lipica
The Slovenian National Stud of Lipica is located in the picturesque Karst region of Slovenia, in the shade of century-old lime trees and oaks, just a stone's throw from the Slovenian-Italian border. The stud was founded in 1580 and since over four centuries it follows the tradition of breeding and selecting Lipizzaner horses.
The history of Lipica is closely intertwined with the Habsburgs who ruled over an extensive part of baroque Europe and relied upon the use of horses. At that time, the Spanish horse was considered an ideal breed which is why the Archduke Charles, the third son of Ferdinand I of Habsburg, chose to build the royal stud farm in the Karst due to its soil and climate being similar to that of Spain.
The Lipizzaner breed, as it is known today, was developed in the time under the Empress Maria Theresa (1740-1780). It was her husband Francis Stephen, Duke of Lorraine, who took great interest in horse breeding. Of 22 stallions from the 18th century today's descendants belong to just four breeding lines: Pluto (Denmark, 1765), Conversano (Italy, 1767), Favory (Austria, 1779) and Neapolitano (Italy, 1790). In 1816 a pure-bred Arab stallion, Siglavy, born in 1810, was introduced to the herd. The fifth classical line of Lipizzaner stallions originates from his descendants and is still being bred today. Among many stallions introduced in the 19th century the stallion Maestoso X deserves particular attention, as he was bred in the Hungarian military stud farm Mesöhegyes. He arrived at Lipica in 1837 to form the sixth classical line of stallions.
Today, Lipica is a jewel among the cultural and historical monuments of the Republic of Slovenia and a famous recreational centre. Visitors can choose between two hotels and are entertained by golf course, tennis courts, mini golf, saunas, swimming pool, gym and casino. The stud is home to 400 horses. Visitors can enjoy guided tours, riding lessons, carriage-rides, classical dressage performances and a look at the art gallery of August Cernigoj, who used to live and work at Lipica.
Moreover, Lipica is an appreciated scene of great international equestrian events, such as qualifiers for FEI World Cup in dressage and show-jumping and international competitions for carriage driving.