The Queen has received a Lipizzaner horse as a gift during a state visit to Slovenia.
Lipica Stud Farm in Slovenia presented The Queen with one of its celebrated white horses after she watched a special one-off performance of classical dressage given in her honour.
Lipizzaners originated in Lipica, an area of Slovenia close to the Italian border, and have been bred at the Lipica Stud Farm for over 400 years.
The stud is renowned for both its breeding of the horses, which are born black before turning white, and its classical dressage training.
The riding holiday firm Far and Ride which organises trips to Lipica learnt of the plans on a recent visit to meet some of the stud’s representatives.
“The horse that the stud farm has given the Queen is one of its most famous dressage horses,” said Sue Woodbine, the firm’s director.
“They must have been really delighted that the Queen was coming to offer her such a prestigious gift.”
The stud, which offers riding holidays for visitors to learn to ride the Lipizzaners, also hopes to attract some publicity with the gift.
A largely state-funded operation, its only other revenue comes from tourism.
“They are definitely hoping to open up the UK market a bit as a result of this,” Sue affirms.
Although presented to The Queen, the horse will remain in Slovenia and continue to take part in Lipica’s three weekly performances.