Noble and strong, the breed of horse known as the Lipizzaner has always captured the public’s imagination. Associated primarily with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna, Lipizzaners were bred by the Austrian-Hungarian Royal Court as early as 1580, when the Lipica Stud Farm in Slovenia was founded. Renowned for their strength, intelligence and longevity, Lipizzaners are best known in the sport of dressage, in which riders and their horses demonstrate control and skill in a number of disciplines.
From the royal courts of European empires, today dressage takes place worldwide, even featuring in the Olympic Games. Lined with lime trees planted throughout its 450-year history, each summer the picturesque Lipica Farm attracts horse lovers, families and novices eager to learn more about this fabled horse. Daily dressage performances demonstrate the horse’s abilities, while visitors can also take Classical-riding lessons, carriage rides, visit an interactive museum, or simply stroll in the lush meadows among herds of these unicorn-like white horses.
Best time to visit: June to September
Worst time to visit: October to April, when no performances are scheduled.
Average hotel rate: $130 a night
Do visit the historical yard, stables, and mansion.
Don’t confuse Western Riding and Classical Riding. Lipizzaners are not your average trail horse.
Top 10 experiences to try in Slovenia
1. Ring the bells in Castle Bled
2. See the dragons on Ljubljana’s famous Dragon Bridge
3. Go caving in the Postojna Caves
4. Watch historical re-enactors battle outside the stunning Prejama Castle
5. Go kayaking on Lake Bled
6. Explore Maribor’s town square
7. Go hiking in the Julian Alps
8. Have coffee alongside the canals of Ljubljana
9. Visit Lipica Lipizzaner Stud Farm
10. Discover the historical coastal town of Piran