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The Lipizzaner Stud Piber

The Lipizzaner Stud Piber

The Lipizzaner Stud Piber is tasked with breeding the oldest pure-bred horses in Europe – the Lipizzaner – which can trace its ancestry back to imperial times, more specifically to the year 1580. The heart of Lipizzaner breeding in Piber is the mare: they ensure the success of future generations, and are given special attention accordingly. Today, around 40 foals are born in Western Styria every year – not with their iconic white coat, but emerging black, grey or brown.  Foals only begin acquiring their typical white colour over the next four to ten years; a colour for which the Lipizzaner is both famed and beloved.

The Lipizzaner Stud Piber employs its four hundred years of breeding knowledge to rear horses made famous by their prowess and performances, particularly through the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. By the middle of the 18th century, the imperial court stud had produced exceptional animals, as demonstrated in the original stud books that are still managed by hand today (and also electronically for a few decades now).

The partnership between the Lipizzaner Stud Piber and the Spanish Riding School in Vienna is built on a unique cycle: Only the best stallions from Piber present the exercises of the High School at the Spanish Riding School – and then return to Piber for a breeding season. After their careers at the Riding School come to an end, many stallions enjoy a well-deserved retirement at Piber.

The foal-hood of the Lipizzaners

Young horses are cared for by our expert custodians throughout their upbringing. Foals spend the first six months with their mother, then find a new home in one of two herds – depending on whether they are a stallion or a mare. The one- to three-year-old adolescents spend their summer months on alpine pastures 1,500 m above sea level – the mares on the Prentlalm and the stallions on the Stubalm. This time spent on mountain pastures is a particularly important stage in rearing Lipizzaners: The sometimes steep and rocky slopes of the alms demand the sure-footedness, stamina and resilience that will stand the young animals in good stead later on.

When performance testing for the mares commences at the age of three, the horses are slowly made accustomed to their new environment. Bridle, lunge line and harness: They are introduced to the equipment in order to gain confidence in their new tasks. Physical training on a lunge line and later in a harness boosts fitness in a very targeted manner. The stallions too are put to the test – and only the crème de la crème reach the training centre in Heldenberg or the Spanish Riding School in Vienna at the age of about three or four.

Today, Piber is an international centre of excellence for breeding Lipizzaners, and in 2016 Lipizzaner horsemanship was added to UNESCO's Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Lipizzaner Stud Piber
Piber 1
A-8580 Köflach
+43 3144 33 23