Horse Podcast Ep 117: Lipizzaner – Royal Horses of Austria

Equestrian Adventuresses Travel and Horse Podcast Ep 117 - Lipizzaner - The Royal Horses of Austria

Another episode of our Horse Breeds around the World Series. Today we visit Austria and its famous Lipizzaner Horses, the oldest cultural horse breed of Europe. I talk with Andrea and Max Dobretsberger, a couple from Austria who have been involved with the Lipizzaners for many years. In the last episode we talked about the famous Spanish Riding School in Vienna and today we will take a closer look at the horses of the school. The Lipizzaner is famous far beyond the boundaries of its home country thanks to the Spanish Riding School, but it is also used for driving and dressage competitions. We talk about the glorious past of the breed, the many challenges it faced since the 16th century and moreover about the modern Lipizzaner horse and its future in sports and leisure riding all around the world.

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Horse Breeds Around the World

Different breeds and horse cultures

Today there are around 400 horse breeds in the world. Some are extremely popular such as Frisians, Thoroughbred, Arabians or Quarter Horses, whereas others are little known, such as the Caspian Pony, Noitgedachter or Marwari. Meanwhile many breeds are restricted to their home countries and some are threatened or nearly extinct. In our Horse Breeds Around the World Series we want to introduce some of the lesser known breeds to you and talk about what role they play in their home country and above all, why they should not be forgotten.

Our Guests today:

Andrea & Max Dobretsberger (Austria)

Andrea and Max Dobretsberger, a couple from Austria joins us today to talk about the Lipizzaner horses. Both of them are veterinarians and moreover have been involved with the breed professionally as well as privately. Max was the breeding manager at the National Lipizzaner Stud of Piber for twelve years and in addition is the current president of the International Lipizzaner Federation. Andrea competes with her Lipizzaner Horses in national and international carriage driving competition. Therefore I believe, there are few people who know more about this very special Austrian breed of horses.

In 1580 Archduke Charles of Austria founded the royal stud farm at Lipizza. Spanish stallions were brought from Spain and crossed with local Karst mares as a result, the Lipizzaner breed came into being, taking their name from the stud farm. Later Neapolitan, Danish, German and Arabian stallions also influenced the breed. After the First World War and the disintegration of Austria-Hungary, the Lipizzaner found a new home in Piber, in Styria but some populations remained in Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Hungary and Romania. Today the Lipizzaner horse is certainly well-known as performing horse in the Spanish Riding School even though, they are also used in carriage driving or leisure riding.

Don’t forget to check out the resources section in this article!


  • Origin & Characteristics of the Lipizzaner
  • Stallion lines & mare families
  • The complicated tradition of name giving
  • Are all Lipizzaner horses grey?
  • Lipizzaner horses in modern sports
  • The future of the Lipizzaner horse

Thank you for tuning in and happy trails!

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