I fully admit to being a self-proclaimed “horse nut”. I love horses. I love everything about them. Riding them, feeding them, grooming them, cleaning their stalls. I really do love it all, and I miss it. (For those that don’t know/ remember, I sold my horse in 2007 due to the constant moves with the military.) Spending the day in a barn working with and around horses is my idea of Heaven.
So when we went to Lipica, Slovenia, I was pretty much in Heaven.
I’m not sure I’ve seen a more beautiful place. Lipica in the fall is ALL sorts of GORGEOUS!
You enter via a tree and white fence lined road, with a golf course on one side and a beautiful pasture full of Lipizzaner’s on the other side.
Lipica is one of the oldest Lipizzaner breeding farms in the world, and where the Lipizzaner’s got their name. Lipica has been breeding Lipizzaner’s since 1580. This breed has avoided extinction numerous times, after they were evacuated from their farms in various countries when those countries were invaded. They’ve been used as war horses for many, many years, and there are only 3000 registered Lipizzaner’s world wide. They are also Slovenia’s national animal.
We were able to watch a training session while we were at the farm. They put on shows on Friday’s and Sunday’s, but we were there on Saturday so we didn’t see it. However, I’ve seen them perform in the States 3-4 times and their show is amazing. What they can get these animals to do is nothing short of a miracle.
Lipizzan’s are trained in classical dressage, and at Lipica, they start their training at the age of 4. It takes about 6 years for them to complete their training. Although they ride the mares (females) here, in their shows they only use the stallions. The horse below is doing a “piaffe” which is basically trotting in place – one of the most advanced dressage moves out there. I would love to be able to ride here, and they do actually have week long courses that you can take, where you ride the Lipizzan’s every morning and then stay in the hotels at the farms in the evening. (Rachel, you need to get your butt out here so we can do this!!!) That would be a dream come true for me.
Everything about this place was beautiful. I could have spent 3 weeks there. We took a carriage ride around the grounds. It was 20E for 30 mins for all four (and a half including Abbie) of us. Pretty cheap considering how absolutely gorgeous it was. I’m not sure we could have picked a pretty time to be there. Enjoy the pictures! (It’s pretty hard to get a clear picture when you’re bouncing along in a horse-drawn carriage, but we managed to get a few.)
This is the oldest building on the grounds and is the barn for the oldest stallions on the farm and the ones they use in their shows.
You weren’t supposed to touch the horses, but I couldn’t help myself. I can’t be around that many soft horse muzzles and not touch at least one of them! Abbie was afraid to touch them. She’d reach out to touch them, but as soon as the horse would look at her she’d pull her hand away.
There is a Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria, that trains the Lipizzaner’s. So that’s next on my list of places to visit! It was great having Mark’s mom and brother along to join in the fun too!