Lipizzaners boost tourism in Europe

  • Following the popularity of the world famous Lipizzaners from Spanish Riding School of Vienna, a new centre in Hungary sparks rumours of rivalry

    Ambitious plans to turn the Hungarian capital Budapest into the “new Prague” making it one of the top tourist destinations in Europe have seen officials turn to horses for inspiration.

    Fans of the Lipizzaner horse will be spoiled for choice when a new equestrian centre specialising in the breed gets underway in Budapest this year.

    Like neighbouring Austria which attracts tourists to the world famous Spanish Riding School of Vienna and Slovenia, whose Lipizzaners lure huge numbers of visitors to Lipizza every year, Hungary has a long association with the breed.

    Rumours of rivalry over the project have been scotched. Dr Werner Pohl, director of the Spanish Riding School and the Austrian State Stud in Piber, said the 400-year-old school in Vienna was totally unique because of its age.

    “As a 430-year-old institution, the Spanish Riding School has to guarantee it’stradition and quality and this will keep us unique. This is part of Austrian culture,” he said.

    Equine tourism

    Una Harley of the Lipizzaner Society of Great Britain says the Hungarians will be offering something different.

    The Budapest project is not trying to compete with the Spanish Riding School of Vienna and there is certainly no sort of attempt being made to oust Vienna.

    “Their initiative is along the lines of the project in Slovenia that has been so successful in attracting tourists – every country is entitled to look at what it can offer the travel industry.

    Hungarian Lipizzaners are noted for their driving ability rather than as dressage horses. In Hungary the horses have been bred specifically for agricultural work and driving and these Lipizzaners are slightly heavier and bigger than those native to Austria.”

    Carriage driving enthusiasts in Britain will remember the amazing strength and daring of the Lipizzaner team taken to the top of the sport by George Bowman. He became world champion and will have inspired Dick Lane who is also bidding to take the world title with his own Hungarian bred team of Lipizzaners at the World Equestrian Games in Jerez this September.

    You can see Hungarian Lipizzaners in action closer to home when Dick Lane, who is currently lying joint-first in the driving points championship takes his team to The British Lipizzaner Breeding Centre at Ludwell near Shaftesbury, Dorset on 18 August.

    For details contact Una Harley (tel: 01747 828639)

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