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Lipizzaner Horses

Pictured above is the filly Trillianna Becca from Tribecca (Lipizzaner on right). Many times Lipizzaners are born black and change to white after about six years or longer of age. We will see if little Trillianna Becca changes color because her sire is a black horse.


Lipizzaner horses are a very old breed, famous primarily via the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, Austria. The Riding School was established in 1572 and was originally named for the Spanish horses that formed one of the one of the bases for the Lipizzan breed which is used exclusively at the school today.

Austrian Archduke Charles set up his own stud farm for Lipizzaners in 1580, near the Adriatic Sea, when Spanish horses from Andalusia became difficult to obtain. He bred these horses to the sturdy Karst Horses and a few select Italian Horses. His stud began to produce an agile, easily collected mount, capable of intricate military maneuvers. Eventually these Lipizzaners became the only mounts used at the Spanish Riding School.

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Lipizzaner's mature slowly, however, they live and are active longer than many other breeds. They perform the difficult exercise of the Spanish Riding School well into their 20's and live into their 30's.

All modern Lipizzaner's trace their blood lines to one of eight stallions that were foaled in the late 18th and early 19th century. It is tradition to include in each stallion's name the one name that indicates their bloodline. There is also a classic mare bloodline, of which there were 35 founding mares.

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Lipizzaners stand generally stand between 14.2 and 15.2 hands (58-62 inches) with some taller ones approaching 16.1 hands (up to 65 inches).

They have a sturdy yet arched neck with a long head that is either straight or slightly convex in profile. The jaw is deep with small ears and flared nostrils. Their eyes are large and expressive.

The Lippizzaner withers are muscular and broad, the tail is carried high and well set. Their chests are wide and deep with a broad croup and muscular shoulders and legs. The legs also tend to be strong with broad joints, defined tendons and the feet are small and tough.


The Lipizzaners are a mostly grey horse, although some greys are almost white in appearance. Though they appear grey their skin is actually black with dark eyes and white coat as adults. Young Lipizzaners are born dark, usually black or bay and lighten as they age. This process takes between 6 and 10 years to complete. Though they appear white they are not true white horses. A white horse is born white and has unpigmented skin.

Until the eighteenth century Lipizzaners had other colors in the breed, most usually dun, bay chestnut, black, piebald and skewbald. However grey is the dominant gene and the royal families preferred this so they were bred to have mostly the grey white we see today. Interestingly enough the Spanish Riding School keeps one bay Lipizzaner stallion at all times as part of it's traditions.

Modern Lipizzaners

The breed suffered a set back in 1983 when a viral infection hit the Piper stud. Forty horses and eight percent of the expected foals were lost. Steps were then taken to raise the mares and number of foals over the next few years. As of 2012 it was estimated that in North America there were about 1,700 Lipizzans.

Because of the status of Lipizzaners as the only breed of horse developed in Slovenia, via the Lipica stud that is now located within its borders, Lipizzans are recognized in Slovenia as a national animal and is featured on the Slovenia 20 cent euro coin.

Movies have included the Lipizzaners such as Walt Disney's 1963 "Miracle of the White Stallions" and a 1965 childrens show "The White Horses" aird in Yugoslavia, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Our Lipizzaner - Tribecca

On our farm we have been so fortunate to now be a part of Lipizzaner history, because of our new addition to the barn yard friends that now includes Tribecca a full blooded old world Lipizzaner. Years ago, when I was a little girl, I had visited the Kentucky Horse park and saw the one and only Lipizzaner in my life at that time. I still remember the beauty and elegance of that horse. After many years of searching for a Lipizzaner, an opportunity became available to be part of this history through a very nice lady named Tracy that I met from Michigan. Thanks to her Tribecca is now a part of our barn yard friends. This has been a dream of mine from a very young age and I am now getting to be part of helping persevere the Lipizzaner history.