The Lipizzan (or the Lipizzaner as it may sometimes be called) trace their history back to the early 1560's when the finest Arab blood was introduced and fused with the local athletic Spanish horses during the Moorish occupation of Spain. Interest in the art of classical riding revived during the Renaissance period when the Spanish horse was considered the most suitable mount because of his exceptional sturdiness, beauty and intelligence.
Maximillian II brought the Spanish horses to Austria about 1562 and founded the court stud at Kladrub. His brother, Archduke Charles established a similar stud with Spanish stock in 1580 at Lipizza near the Adriatic Sea. From the Lipizza stud farm, came the name Lipizzan. Both studs flourished, the Kladrub stud became known for its heavy carriage horses while the Lipizza stud produced riding horses and light carriage horses. However, the two studs were linked closely and on occasion exchanged breeding stock. The Kladrub stud produced Maestoso and Favory, two of the foundation sires of today's Lipizzan.
To strengthen the original Spanish-Arab strain, several stallions were purchased during the 18th and 19th centuries for use at Lipizza and Kladrub. During the 1700's these horses, although of Spanish and Italian origin, included sires form Denmark and Holstein, but were of pure Spanish descent. By the 1800's, there were no longer any original Spanish horses to be had and Arabs were chosen to replenish the Lipizzan line but of the seven Arabian stallions used, only Siglavy founded a separate dynasty. Of all the sires used during the 18th and 19th century, only six of these horses were accepted to found the family lines of the Lipizzan as known today:
1. CONVERSANO, black, a Neapolitan (b. 1767). Conversano's have Arab blood, strong ram-like heads short backs, broad hocks and dignified movements.
2. FAVORY, dun, a Bohemian origin (b. 1779), transferred from Kladrub. The Arab influence is noticeable in the Favory's by their lighter build but the soft curve of their nose still calls to mind their Spanish ancestry.
3. MAESTOSO, white (not grey), a crossbred of Neapolitan sire and a Spanish dam (b. 1819), transferred from Kladrub. Maestoso's are powerful horses with a long back, extremely muscular cruppers and heavy heads.
4. NEAPOLITANO, bay (brown), from another Neapolitan sire (b. 1790). Neapolitans retain their original tall, more...