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Lipizzan History at a glance:
Lipizzans represent over 400 years of select breeding, founded upon selection of superior horses gathered from all over the world. They not only possess beauty and nobility, but also a rare combination of courage, strength, ability, temperament, and intelligence.
The Lipizzan breed had it's beginning in 1580 when Archduke Charles II established the stud farm in Lipizza (Lipica) , using the best imported Spanish horses, Andalusians, Barbs and Berbers bred to the local Karst horses. The Karst horses were white in color, small, slow to mature, and extremely tough. Most people have the false idea that Lipizzans inherited their high stepping gait from the Spanish horse. It was, however, the Karst horse who gave the Lipizzan its high stepping gait.
In the late 1700's the horses were moved three times during the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon gained possession of the horses for a while and bred his Arab stallion, VESIR, to the Lipizzaners. Seven Arab stallions were used to develop the breed during the period from 1807 to 1856. They were: SIGLAVY, TADMOR, GAZLAN, SAYDAN, SAMSON, HADUDI, and BEN AZET. From 1792 to 1815, the Kladruby horse helped to develop two of the Lipizzan lines (Maestoso & Favory). By 1880 there were 341 Lipizzan horses at the Lipizza stud farm. Of all the sires used in the 18th and 19th centuries, only six founded the original stallion lines of the Lipizzan breed: SIGLAVY, NEAPOLITANO, MAESTOSO, FAVORY, PLUTO, and CONVERSANO. Later, in Croatia and Hungary, the TULIPAN and INCITATO lines were developed.
Until 1916, the Lipizzan stud farm always remained the private possession of the Habsburg monarchy. Up to this time, the expansion of the breed had been affected over the centuries by military conflicts. Whenever warfare threatened the Lipizza stud, the horses were moved away. During these moves, individual horses would occasionally be given or sold to other studs. From these horses came other small Lipizzan studs, usually within the boundaries of the Austrian empire.
During World War I, the breeding stock was relocated to Laxenburg near Vienna. The foals were placed in the other imperial stud farm., Kladrub. After World War I, central Europe was reorganized. The large Austrian-Hungarian empire was divided into several new republics, and every new state inherited the possessions of the former monarchy. The breeding stock of the imperial stud farm of Lipizza (1580-1916) itself was divided among three different countries. At the time, only 208 Lipizzans were known to be left in existence. The main part (109 horses) went to Italy, to which the village of Lipizza and its surroundings had been awarded. The 1913-1915 foals remained at Kladrub, which was then owned by the Czechoslovakian state. In 1919, the republic of Austria became the owner of the rest of the breeding stock and the stallions of the Spanish Riding School. Following World War I, in addition to Italy, Czechoslovakia, and Austria, other new states which continued the breeding of the Lipizzan horse were Hungary, Rumania, and Yugoslavia.
In 1943, the Lipizzan breed was again threatened with extinction when the mares and foals from Austria, Italy, and Yugoslavia were transferred to Hostau in Czechoslovakia by the German High Command. Through the heroic efforts of the Spanish Riding School’s director, Alois Podhajsky, the school was saved yet the performance stallions were not returned to the school until 1955. In 1945, the perpetuation of the breed was guaranteed by the American army, under the command of General Patton, which retrieved the mares and returned them to Austrian soil.
Today Lipizzans are found beyond the borders of what was once the Austrian-Hungarian Empire. With less than 4,000 purebred Lipizzans in the world, the breed is considered rare, and the number of foals born each year is correspondingly small. Extreme care is taken by those involved in the production of Lipizzan horses to insure that the purity of the breed is preserved. Much effort has been expended to develop educational programs to foster voluntary adherence to the traditional breed goals and objectives.
In the late 20th century, the Lipizzan has proven to be a successful competitor at all levels of competition dressage and driving, as well as continuing to be the ultimate mount for classical horsemanship. The breed has also proven to be suitable for other equestrian disciplines including pleasure riding. Owners and breeders are dedicated to the Lipizzan breed because they appreciate its rarity, cultural importance, romantic history, and it's traits of intelligence, classical beauty, and harmonious, athletic way of moving.
During a long time of owning horses and riding activities a certain wish came up. First Lady our 19 year old warmblood mare showed already effects of a spondyliosis in the spine after her accident 8 years ago. So we decided to look for a young horse which can replace once Lady and even Noran (Nori). Since Noran was treated with pergolide his condition is very unstabilised and makes it difficult to develope a certain continuous training level. Noran - a breed mixture between a Hungarian (obviously Lipizzan related stallion) and a Dutch warmblood - was since 17 years a very good partner for my riding activities and perfectly fitting to my requirements. Nori's herritage of the Dutch Warmblood mother showed sometimes its effects in less elegance and ambition at all convinced me to find a pure breed Lipizzan to replace him once. During my long term period of horse experience I was all the time more related to male horses than to female. So finally we decided to buy a young Lipizzan stallion in January 2008.
Lipizzan horses are different and each line is distinguishing to the other. At all the 6 main stallion lines as well as 18 main mares lines are today's basic breed potential. First of all to buy a Lipizzan you should know what u want - each line has specific abilities, chracteristics and shape. And the breed of a stallion line combined with a certain stud line might cause a good or even a bad result according to those specific abilities, characterstics and the shape of a Lipizzan horse.
Therefore it is recommendable to buy Lipizzans from breeders who know how to combine the parents of the different stallion and mare lines to achieve a certain breeded foal according to the Lipizzan breed objectives as well as according to the different requirements of the sales market. First of all my personal riding abilities gave the basic attitudes for a new horse which should accompany me next 20 years. After a detailed study of the Lipizzan stallion and mare line we decided for a Neapolitano stallion line combined with some certain mare lines such as Deflorata, Europa, Gidrane or one of the karststuds such as Sardinia, Spardiglia, Africa or Argentina. Since only some certain breed associations covered my idea of a Lipizzan more related to an elegant and smaller type of horse we started our search in Slovenia and Austria. German breeders actually seemed to sell just mares.
To find a needle in a haystack:
Ambitious objectives need an also ambitious way to achieve those objectives. With my idea of the perfect Lipizzan horse according to my ideas and requirements I started an almost impossible mission. Since my husband Henry is professionally located in Styria/Austria we started our search in Piber. Studfarms generally are breeding horses for breed purpose - not for selling purpose. During the first attempts to find a fitting horse we made this very usefull experiences. Once identified a potential horse by exterior, breeding lines and character in Piber studfarm either the respective horse was not to be sold or very high priced (I'm speaking about prices according to buy a property!!). All to be sold horses where either donkeys or even not usable for breeding and therefore also not usable for ambitious riding. We started to be concentrated in horses from the private Slovenian Lipizzaner Breeding Association.
In one of the meanwhile uncountable visits to Spanish Horse Riding school in Vienna we found Ilona Kirsch's book 'Individualists for Idealists'. She was confirming my suspicion about horses to be sold in State studfarms - they breed for a breed purpose and for for sale purpose. Since that time I started an e-mail contact to Mrs. Kirsch concerning my efforts 'How to buy a Lipizzan'. Thank u also Mrs. Kirsch for Your honest opinion and hints to find the perfect Lipizzan.
In July 08 we contacted Karolina Jamnik - member of private Slovenian Lipizzaner Breeding Association: She was selling a Neapolitano Trompeta stallion. This 1,5 year old stallion was according to my ideas of Lipizzan lines a perfect horse. So we agreed to visit the horse in Slovenia. We started in the morning and I gave Karolina a final call that we are on our way from Styria to Slovenia when she told me the young stallion was sold yesterday evening. Very disappointed we went home and I thougt again: My idea will not be successfully realised. At home in Germany our studs health was decreasing and we decided in August 08 not to ride her anymore. Karolina promised us to figure out if there is an other Neapolitano for sale. End of August she called us and told me about a 2,5 year old Neapolitano stallion:
Neapolitano Capra VII:
Since Lady's health was continuously decreasing it would be much more senseful to buy an older Lipizzan than a 1,5 year old stallion. Karolina forwarded us to Jana Jasovic also member of private Slovenian Lipizzaner Breeding Association: Jana presented the horse in a webbased sales portal, which included also a video of the Neapolitano when he was longed. Friendly spoken - the video was almost preventing me from visiting the horse since it showed a very uneducated and almost wild young stallion: Later we heard it was his 1st time to be longed and the breeder agreed neither having spent too much time to make the stallion used to it nor beeing himself used to educate young horses. So we started in September 08 from Styria to Slovenia to visit the possible new horse.
My recommendation for all possible buyers: Don't consider too much on offered videos and pictures of the horses. Pictures and videos are a temporary documentation of the horse's shape, character and capabilities. Mostly depending on the actual sitaution - in a good and also in a bad sense. Try to visit a horse several times, try to come to know if you and the horse find a common base before both are deciding: It is my partner for the next 20 years.
'Capra' means 'goat':
The Neapolitano Capra looked not very typical for a Lipizzan and the rear hand remembered more to a goat's rear hand than to a horses rear hand. I started laughing - didn't mean Capra in latin language 'goat' (after remembering to my school time when I was ' forced ' to learn Latin this was definitly confirmed).
1st meeting with Charly:
We met with Karolina and Jana (as well as the nice sheppard bitch of Jana) close to Ljublijana and went to Neapolitano Capra's place - inbetween nothing and nowhere (the village was called Litije). The breeders, Matej and his father in law August, prepared a very warm wellcome and showed us the young stallion. 'Charly', like August called the young Neapolitano Capra, was more or less not used to be touched by foreign people and didn't even think about some exercises to check his exterior such as lifting his legs to see his hoofs. Comparing to the sales picture he was already much more developed and his on the first view not very capable rear hand was already improved. Lipizzans in this age change from week to week. Augusts stable was old but very well maintained and all horses had been in a good shape and condition. So at all a good indicater for a healthy childhood of Charly.
Charly's behaviour was more or less very impulsive, less controlled and uneducated. To show him in trott at the hand was for Matej's friend who had the exhausting task to present at hand the young stallion an alomst dangerous action. At that moment I realised that to buy this or even an other young horse and educate it starting from the base will be a huge challenge. My 2 oldies at home - Lady and Noran - are in an age of 20 years easy to handle, very 'cool' and every time to be controlled. This young fellow Charly was more or less pulling his people across the riding place. But, and this is mainly to be considered, in his case the reason was that Charly never was shown how to behave and it never was a bad willing to behave badly like he did.
After a lot of talks and spending time with the young boy more than an hour we agreed to prepare a precontract and to send him to Ljublijana in the Vet Clinic for a presale check. On this evening we went back to Styria very happy and my idea of owning soon a young Lipizzan stallion came closer with this young, uncivilised Neapolitano Capra. At home in Germany I transfered the agreed amount for the Vet check and we agreed next few days to send him to Ljublijana. The weekend on 3rd of October we intented to come again to Slovenia and finalise the deal. Meanwhile we tried to find a name for the boy since Neapolitano Capra is too long for using daily and we spend many hours by creating and searching names starting with 'N'.
2nd meeting with Charly:
Anyhow was a delay of the vetcheck, so we met again in October without an executed vet check. Jana promised to transport Charly immediately to the clinic next few days. In October my niece accompanied us to Styria and went with us to visit the boy in Litjie. Charly meanwhile grow again during last 3 weeks. I took my Kappbridal and longe with me from Germany to figure out how the boy reacts and how smart he is. Some simple exercises confirmed that he never was trained in even simple things and first steps in ' shoulder in ' on hand he understood very quick. Finally he was a smart horse and very co-operative.
We returned to Germany - Rita (see more please in section gallery and Personalities), never metioned her before, but my longterm partner, carring almost 10 years for our horses should be involved into our plans. Finally it was her to move me to akademic riding arts principles. We reutrned from Slovenia and the same evening we met her in the stable and told her the news about the young Lipizzan stallion. She was not even appreciated about the idea since having had a heavy accident wiht a young horse 3 years ago, and took the news more or less as an informing news. Who should educated the young boy, who should ride him first time?? Questions appeared having not being raised up before since already had been clarified in my mind. I was confronted 17 years ago with a more or less not educated Nori, but not with a total crude 2,5 year old lipizzan stallion, who was transported 12 hours from Slovenia to Southwestern Germany. So a challenge for all, but I tried to move my doubt away and being focused on the vet check of the Neapolitano as well as his transport.
Next days Jana went with the young fellow to the Vet Clinic where the Vet check was done and sent me the x-rays and all results of the examination. Inspite such a young horse might have no damages or deseases I recommend a vet check before to buy in each case. Sonja Finsler our Vet in Germany checked the results and called me in the evening with a bad news: First of all the x-rays quality had been very low what made it difficult to recognise anything on the pictures. Anyhow Sonja said that on th right front leg it seems that the navicular bones has a split. Due to the bad quality of the pictures she said that she can't exclude totally a damage. This was a very bad news and I called immediately Jana to tell her Sonja's opinion. We discussed and finally I said that we should repeat the x-ray since I couldn't believe that my dream of a nice Lipizzan would disappear as fast as it came up. Jana took the boy the next days again to the vet Clinic and they made again 2 x-rays of the suspicious area during Sonja was giving her orders how to do the pictures (direction and angles) via phone directly connected to Ljublijana vet clinic. Finally she checked again the pictures and nothing was to be seen. This day we opened a bottle of champagner and celebretate our new horse: Neapolitano Capra - Charly.
Transport to Germany:
Day x came and Charly was supposed to be transported to Germany. 15th of November 2008 - after 12 hours trip Charly arrived in his new home EULENGARTEN - OWLS GARDEN. All went fine and he was doing very well loading and unloading in the trailer. Many thanks to Jana for the save transport of our boy as well as all the efforts she had selling the most beautyful Lipizzan stallion to us.
Many thanks also to all the involved people who supported me in realising my idea: