Monday, May 15, 2017

Slovenia - Lipica, home of the Lipizzaner horses

In 1983 (yes, I'm getting old!) Chris, I and four friends who were equally fond of horseriding, took a trip to Slovenia. In those days you didn't have Ryan Air, or any other price fighter, so the best option was to take a train. We started out from Brussels and boarded the night train to Milan. From there we had a connection to Trieste, which is not that far from the then Yugoslavian border (now it's Slovenia). We could reach Lipica by hired car.

Lipica is a stud farm, famous for its Lipizzaner breed. Originally, the horses from the Spanish Riding School in Vienna were bred here (1580-1915), before moving to Austria. But the Lipica farm still breeds the famous white horses which are so great for dressage. By the way, a Lipizzaner is born with a grey or black skin, which slowly turns white as the horse grows older.

We had an arrangement, which included taking riding lessons twice a day (two times 2 hours). You could switch one riding lessons for an outdoor trip (on horseback). We also had a day free of lessons, so we could explore the region. This part of Slovenia is quite nice, and if you have the time, there is enough to explore. We once took a day trip to Koper (a village near the sea) and also went to see some grotto of which I've quite forgotten the name...

But as I mentioned, most of our time there was spent riding. It's a dream to ride a Lipizzaner. It feels like sitting in your sofa and just relax. Those horses are so well-behaved they don't set a foot wrong even if you are just a beginner. Luckily for us, we had been taking lessons for years before, so we could join the advanded riders and even got to do some dressage.

After the riding lessons, you could also watch a demonstration of high dressage, just like in Vienna (and you didn't have to pay extra for it!). We just had a great time there.

When I had that young age, I often wished I could have my own Lipizzaner!

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