Hold your horses! Lipizzan breed given UN protected heritage status

Lipizzan horses on the Vucijak stud farm
Lipizzan horses on the Vucijak stud farm   -   Copyright  Screengrab from AP video
By Rita Palfi  with AP

2022 will be remembered as a remarkable year for lovers of an exceptional European breed, the Lipizzan horse.

Eight European countries made a joint bid to the UN's cultural agency to grant the tradition of Lipizzan horse breeding UNESCO heritage status, which was granted on the 1st of December.

The Lipizzan horse is a noble breed, with ancestors that can be traced back to 1580 when Habsburg Emperor Ferdinand I established a stud farm near Lipica (now Slovenia).

The centuries-old horse breeding tradition continues today in eight European countries: Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. 

Lipizzan is an endangered horse breed as there is estimated to be only 8000 left in the world.

One of the stables hoping the UNESCO status will help guarantee the Lipizzans’ future is Vucijak stud farm, established in 1946 in the former Yugoslavia.

Lipizzans are distinguished by their grace, beauty and swan-like necks, according to Miroslav Milanković. the stud farm's manager.

Their special lineage spans almost 500 years of history. It’s also said that Lipizzans are the proudest of horses, as well as the most temperamental and energetic.

"If you train them properly and win their trust, the most obedient. After you win their trust, they trust you forever. But give them just one reason to mistrust you and they will never trust you again; hurt them once and they will stay hurt forever," says Mićo Žuna a horse trainer at the farm,

If you want to learn more about Lipizzan horses, click on the video player above.

Video editor • Joanna Adhem