Bred for royalty, the Lipizzaner horse has long been strongly associated with the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, where the dancing white stallions perform movements from the haute école beneath a portrait of Emperor Charles VI for whom the Winter Riding School was built in 1735.
The Lipizzaner is a cultural and heritage icon across central Europe where state stud farms in Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, and Hungary carry on a proud tradition, producing horses for riding, driving, and breeding.
The Lipizzaner is no longer exclusive to Europe, with small populations of the breed having been established globally in countries including Australia, New Zealand and America where dedicated breeders and enthusiasts are keeping the breed alive.
The first Lipizzaners were imported into Australia by Geoff Adcock of Ravenswood Park, South Australia, in 1975 and included four pregnant mares from the Lipica State Stud in Slovenia (491 Gaeta VIII, 528 Monteaura III, 536 Steaka IX, 502 Trompeta X) and the Piber-bred Spanish Riding School stallion 298 Siglavy Flora 1-75. Ravenswood Park became a major breeder of Lipizzaners and many of the horses currently in Australia can trace their lineage back to one or more of the Lipizzaners imported by Ravenswood. Prior to being exported to Australia, Siglavy Flora 1-75 stood for two seasons at Piber Stud Farm in Austria, with his line being found today in Australian, American, and European Lipizzaner breeding.
Not long after the import of the Ravenswood horses, Danish natives Bent and Marianne Christensen of Bibaringa Stud in the ACT, immigrated to Australia and brought with them the Piber-bred stallion 303 Pluto Plutona-14 and three Szilvásvárad-bred mares – Conversano XX-17, Incitato IX-10 and Neapolitano XIX-2. Although not as prolific as the Ravenswood Lipizzaners, descendants of the Bibaringa horses are still found in Australia today.
Australia and New Zealand are presently home to approximately 140 Lipizzaners and 15 breeders who work closely together to preserve and promote the breed. Since the original imports in the mid-1970s, breeders have continued to source the best genetics from around the world, which has seen a handful of Lipizzaner horses imported into the country from Europe and America.
LipiData (www.LipiData.org) is a global Lipizzaner database created by two Australian Lipizzaner enthusiasts who were seeking to provide a more accessible way for breeders to access the information and tools required to breed sustainably in a small gene pool. Launched in July 2021 with 1,500 horses in its database, LipiData has grown to contain over 10,000 Lipizzaner horses from all over the globe. In the year since its launch, LipiData has expanded into offering horse sales, stallion advertising, and the very first Global High Point competition exclusively for Lipizzaners.
The LipiData Global High Point Competition is open to Lipizzaner owners and riders from around the world who compete their Lipizzaners in disciplines of their choosing. Results earned by entrants are submitted to LipiData, with the highest point-getter at the end of the year being declared the 2022 LipiData Global High Point Champion. Of course Lipizzaners aren’t just dressage horses, so to recognise combinations competing successfully over a range of disciplines, LipiData is also awarding the 2022 LipiData Versatile Lipizzaner of the Year. The inaugural LipiData Global High Point Competition has attracted entrants from America, Australia, Croatia, the United Kingdom, and Sweden.