Hello Adventuresses! This article is going to be about my experience riding Lipizzaner horses in Slovenia. While filming a portion of the Equestrian Adventuresses documentary series in Slovenia, I headed to the Italian border to visit Lipica stud farm. Read on to join me on a true dream come true and find out where Lipizzaner horses really come from!
Author: Krystal Kelly
Where Do Lipizzaner Horses Come From?
Contrary to popular belief, the Lipizzaner horses do not originate from Piber Stud farm in Austria. The original Lipizzaner breeding stud farm is actually Lipica Stud, located in Slovenia. Lipica Stud became a heritage site for being a “cultural monument of historic importance for Slovenia”.
The story begins in the 16th century, when the abandoned summer residence of the Bishop of Trieste at Lipica became the court stud farm of the Hapsburgs. Archduke Charles wanted to cultivate a breed that would be suitable for use in war, drawing carriages, and riding in the “classical style”. The Lipizzaner was developed from the crossing of imported Spanish horses and local Slovenian horses to create the breed so well recognized today.
The oldest stable here at Lipica is about 300 years old. It is still used for the stallions. For an entry fee, you can tour around the stables and the arena facilities. There are some shows throughout the day, so I suggest booking ahead if you are planning on visiting.
A Dream Come True
When I was a little nine-year-old girl, I read Marguerite Henry’s books about the Lipizzaner horses and watched the movies. I had this fantasy about coming here to Europe and riding a Lipizzaner some day. Only a few months before my 30th’s birthday, my dream finally came true and I got to ride a Lipizzaner mare. The mare I was riding obviously had a little bit of dressage schooling in her. So she was very pleasant to ride. It was so scenic riding her down tiny forest trails!
Slovenia is a true land of diversity. Since I’ve been here, I’ve experienced gorgeous landscapes, thunderstorms, caves, dragons, legends, men playing accordions…and of course Lipizzaners! So I have yet to be bored in this country.
Lipica is very close to the border, so even on our little trail ride we rode a bit into Italy and then back into Slovenia. Obviously Europe doesn’t have any border control nowadays. But there were some ruins of old buildings where the police and border control between Slovenia and Italy used to be, which was quite interesting to see. I certainly didn’t want our ride to end – I was very sad to get off my mare!
After having visited Lipica and seen all the beautiful sights in this country, I don’t think it’s going to be very hard to convince me to return for a second trip!
Planning Your Adventure?
Maybe you’re planning your own Slovenian riding adventure, but don’t know where to start. Maybe you’re insecure about travelling solo as a woman! I have some advice for you. Firstly, become a member of our Equestrian Adventuresses Facebook group. Here’s, you’ll be able to connect with awesome women riders from around the world who can give you first-hand recommendations and share their experiences. If you end up getting to ride a Lipizzaner at Lipica Stud, be sure to post your photos in the group to inspire other women riders!
Secondly, I recommend that you sign up for our Equestrian Adventuresses on-line courses. With these courses, you’ll learn horsemanship and travel safety from FEI level II certified instructor and Equestrian Adventuresses founder Krystal Kelly. What you learn will give you the confidence and knowledge to make your next equestrian adventure safe and fun!
I hope you enjoyed reading this article! Till next time, happy trails!
Enjoyed reading this article and planning on riding in Slovenia? Check out this article about horse riding in Slovenia sharing Krystal’s personal experience riding in this incredible country!