The South African Lipizzaners are not only bred to enter crowds who flock to the indoor hall in Kyalami every Sunday at 10:30 for an hour, but they have an interesting story to tell if they could talk. Luckily the historians have recorded the ancestory of the oldest human bred horse in the world. Traced to Carthaginian and Roman horses at the time Julius Caesar was Emperor of Rome, these white horses date back to around 1562 when Archduke Maximilian started to breed Spanish horses in Lipica, a village in Slovenia. It was the need for military horses of unusual strength, loyalty and courage that inspired him to import Spanish, Italian and Arab-Oriental horses for his breeding programme. In 1944 a select few Lipizzaners were rescued from war-torn Austria and brought to South Africa by Count Jankovich-Besan and the stallions at Kyalami are direct descendants of those horses and their predecessors.
The Lipizzaner Trust is dedicated to the advancement of this proud cultural heritage and the preservation of this most ancient breed of horse. Lipizzaner horses are born dark, but gradually become lighter with each change of coat as they grow older, until they are silvery white. Although originally the breed represented different colours, today the Lipizzaner is almost exclusively white and only a tiny percentage still today remains bay or black. The South African Lipizzaners have earned the honour of being the only performing Lipizzaners outside Vienna recognised by and affiliated to the Spanish Riding School and the weekly shows draw people from across the world. Refreshments and memorabilia are available and tickets can be booked through Computicket or at the door.