Monday, May 24, 2010
Lipica and the Lipizzaner Horses
Along the way to the coast we had the choice to see the famous Škocjan Caves or visit a Stud Farm for the world famous Lipizzaner horses. We did make a stop and even walked to the first lookout of the cave system that makes up the Škocjan Caves but finally opted out in favor of the farm where Lipizzaner horses are bred and trained.
This one of a kind horse, pictured in many of the paintings depicting royalty in the last several centuries is a grand story. The roots of this horse are in Arabia. With the invasion of Spain by the Moors, this horse came to be in Europe. I am not sure how old the roots are in Arabia but Wikipedia only tells the story of the breed of this horse. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lipizzaner). The famous picture of Napoleon in Battle shows him sitting on a Lipizzaner. These horses were fearless; trained to obey and to even be heroic. Without noticeable commands, by just feeling the pressure points, the horse knows how to respond to his rider. Mostly trained to transport royalty on their escapades, this horse did serve in many battles. The footing of the horse is very exact and strong. Each step taught to the horse serves as a help in battle. Walking sideways, cantering, even jumping up with all four legs in the air at one time, are tactics used by the battle rider to exploit the nature of the horse.
Jumping like that would give the rider room to maneuver in a crowded battle formation. Walking sideways would sidestep a frontal assault by another horseman. The Lipizzaner is a very strong horse. It learns relatively quickly and it does look elegant. The visit to the stables of Lipica was a treat. There are only 2 stud farms I know of; the other is Piber, near Graz, Austria. This breed of horse, there are only about 3000 horses worldwide, brings one back to an era of ‘horse’ power, when life was not as hectic, when distances were calculated in the days it took for a horse to carry you to your destination. The place in Lipica, even though it is very modern, evokes nostalgia for simpler times. One has to love horses to see my point of view I guess. Yes, my bike has horse power, gets me to places I could not get to otherwise, but I just visited a place where it all started; one horse power at the time.
We had a great time walking through the barns, recounting the days of yesteryear. The farm is located on a huge piece of property. Well organized, with painted white fences, this is a prime example of a heritage Slovenia can be, and is, very proud of.
We loved this place! (Sorry about not visiting the cave system, but we cannot do it all.)