On 1 December 2022, eight European countries made a joint bid to the UN’s cultural agency to grant the tradition of Lipizzan horse breeding UNESCO heritage status. The bid was successful, and so the future of the Lipizzan, which is one of the noblest and most graceful horse breeds in the world, is now more secure as a result.
Lipizzan is an endangered horse breed as only 3000 of them are estimated to be alive worldwide at the time of writing, including about 600 in North America. This population originated from imports over the last 30 years. The breed is most often used as it was traditionally, for riding and driving, though it has just begun to gain success in dressage competitions.
Vucijak stud farm, which was established in 1946 in the former Yugoslavia is one of the stables that hopes to benefit the most from this recent UNESCO decision.
More information about the Lipizzan horse breed
The Lipizzan is a breed of horse originating from Austria and is best known for its elegant and athletic movements in classical dressage. The breed has a rich history dating back to the 16th century and is considered a national treasure in Austria. Lipizzans trace their roots back to the stud farm established by the Habsburg Monarchy in Lipizza, now part of Slovenia. The breed was developed by crossbreeding Arabian, Barb, and Spanish horses, creating a versatile and agile horse that was used for riding, carriage work, and as a warhorse.
During World War II, the Lipizzan breed was almost extinct, but a group of American soldiers saved the horses and brought them to the United States. Today, the breed is protected by the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, where they are trained in classical dressage, showcasing their exceptional abilities and beauty.
Some of the most famous Lipizzans include Conversano III, a stallion that won multiple Grand Prix events and was the first Lipizzan to win a World Cup Qualifier, and Neapolitano XVIII, who performed at the White House for Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy.