Croatian Lipizzaners Return Home

croatian lipizzansOctober 13, 2007 -- 60 Lipizzaner horses transferred from Croatia to the Bukinac stud farm in Serbia in 1991 were returned to their home late Friday.

The horses headed back to Croatia after the Croatian Agricultural Ministry representatives and the owner of the farm in northern Serbia managed to reach a deal, ending a long dispute on the ownership of the herd and compensation for their care.

The animals were transferred from Lipik in Croatia when war broke out in that country in 1991.

Agriculture Minister Slobodan Milosavljeviæ told B92 that the Ministry was involved in all aspects of the affair, but did not interfere in the agreement between the Croatian officials and the farm’s owner, Todor Bukinac.

“We have conducted veterinary checks together with our Croatian colleagues and handled the paperwork,” he said.

Milosavljeviæ and his Croatian counterpart agreed in August after meeting with Bukinac, that Lipizzaner horses would be returned to Croatia. The stud farm’s owner said at the time he would demand EUR 300,000 in compensation for looking after the animals.

B92 reported on several occasions that the horses had been neglected and emaciated, while numerous animal rights groups called for urgent examination of their health.

The chief of the State Veterinary Inspectorate, Sanja Eelebièanin, told B92 that the institution confirmed ahead of the transfer that “all horses were in good health.”

Lipik Horses

(October 2007) A committee formed by the Croatian Government, under the direction of Mr. Mato Cachic, in conjunction with representatives of the Serbian Government, went to Novi Sad in mid-September to verify and inventory the missing Lipik horses. The visit to the Bukinac studfarm was for the purpose of identifying all the horses located there and to collect blood and hair samples, as well as photographs, to assist in identification. A total of 69 horses were found carrying Lipik brands, however all of them were not Lipizzaners but also warmbloods, anglo-arabs and ponies. Most of the mares and the older stallions were located in Novi Sad, however the remaining mares and the young horses, approximately 15, are kept at a different location, Novo Milosevo. Since their visit, one Lipizzan mare has died. Mr. Cachic indicated the horses condition was still deplorable and inhumane.

What has been established, to date, is that a number of the original horses as well as their offspring have been sold throughout Europe. As search for these horses has started and to date it has been found that many Lipizzaners have been exported from Serbia to Northern European countries and have been included in the respective countries studbooks, in direct violation of the commitment of all LIF member organizations, since 1997, not to do so.

According to information that Mr. Cachic has, the following horses are in Hungary and approved for breeding, by that country:

-- 115 Favory Monteaura I (Lip.,1990:) and his son 222 Favory Trompeta IV (Lip. Karadjordjevo, 1995). Monteaura was sold to Hungary in 2004 and was approved that year. He may also have been standing at stud in Austria.

-- In Holland (Netherlands) are 1 Favory Delta I, 19 Lipica I and 13 Caprice.

-- In the Czech Republic is Batosta (171459, born 28.03.1999., father: C. Monteaura XIII; mother: 136 Batosta IX, Lip. Novi Sad 1991). 136 Batosta IX is a foal from stolen Lipik horses and is now located at the stud farm in Kelebija.

As more of these Lipik horses and their progeny are found, I will notify you. If any of them are already in our registries, please notify me and we will need to address how to proceed. Going forward, prior to registering any of the European imports, we need to verify the pedigrees (through Atjan Hop) to assure none of the Lipik horses are included.

I will keep you posted as I receive further information from Europe.

Vienna Spanish Riding School donates oats for Bosnian Lipizzans

Vienna - The Spanish Riding School in Vienna showed solidarity with less fortunate brethren of their famous white stallions and donated 24 tonnes of oats for feeding Lipizzan horses at stud in Bosnia, the riding school said in a press release.

The oats, grown at the state-owned stud at Piber in the province of Styria are on their way to the Bosnian stud Vucijak near Banja Luka, Armin Aigner, chief of Austria’s Lipizzan horses, said.

At a meeting of European stud directors, Aigner heard about the problems of the small, state-owned stud to obtain proper food for its 90 Lipizzan horses.

As high-quality food is essential especially for mares and foals, the riding school and Austria’s environment ministry decided to help the brethren of their white horses and provide food for about one year.

Breeding records show that there are connections between the horses in Bosnia and the type of Lipizzan still bred in Austria, which remains largely unchanged since the baroque era.

The white stallions at Vienna’s Riding School are world famous for their performances of the “high school” of classical dressage, which date in style back to the 18th century, the foundation of the Spanish Riding School.

Lipizzaners in Bosnia and Serbia

Just so the rest of the LANA members are aware, since 1992, LANA, like USLR, has collected funds which were forwarded to the LIF to help alleviate the difficulties experienced by some of the European Lipizzan studfarms.

When the most recent article came out, LANA immediately contacted the General Secretary of the LIF to see if and how the Serbian situation changed. As soon as we hear back from the LIF, we will let the rest of the list serve and membership know what is going on.

I can tell you that through the donations of the European Union and the LIF (which includes money funneled by LANA and USLR) somewhere between 300,0000 and 400,000 Euros over a ten year period has been sent to Serbia to feed and care for the horses.

This article has raised many questions. The first concern is the horses and I understand that food is being shipped. However, this aside, we need to find the answer as to where the money has gone and why they neglected these poor horses even with the funds the EU provided them for their care.

As always, LANA continues to collect and send donations to the LIF to help toward situations of this kind. Should anyone wish to donate money, make your check payable to LANA and send it to Melody Hull, marked for LIF Lipizzan Relief Fund and we'll forward the money.

Ingun Littorin forwarded this information and am passing it on to the rest of the membership. In addition to all the funding that has been spent in the war torn areas over the past ten years, here is some background that some of you may not know so as to keep the speculation under control. Ingun advises that, at present, there is no request for funds, and will try to find out if that is desired.

Lately there have been several news stories about the Lipizzaners in Bosnia and Serbia (the Lipik horses) and about the lack of “care” given to these horses.

These issues were discussed during the last Lipizzan International Federation (LIF) meeting which was conducted in Kelebija , Serbia on June 16 and 17.

The Bosnian horses are doing better and in fairly good condition according to Dr. Rus who had recently visited the stud-farm. More needs to be done in regards to securing the future within the Bosnian Government. Lipica and Slovenian Government have been working closely with Vujiak, including providing breeding stallions. At the meeting, Piber through Mr. Aigner offered to send additional feed to the stud-farm to carry them through the winter..

In regards to the Croatian horses in Serbia , things are not quite as good. These horses were removed from Croatia without permission during the war and have been moved to different locations several times. Off springs of these horses will not be registered by any LIF associated registry until the issue of the return of the horses to Croatia has been resolved. In the meantime, it was decided in June that an effort be made to collect DNA from these horses, as many of them are now very old and parentage may be difficult to prove. As to their condition, it appears not to be very good. There are still funds in the LIF Help-account ( most opf them collected in the United States ) and it may be possible to transfer these over to assist with the Croatian horses in Serbia. It must be remembered however, one cannot simply cross a border with a load of hay -- there is a tremendous amount of red tape, rules and regulations. And again, it is a private person who is in possession of these horses (possibly illegally) and Governments negotiating over the resolution of the problem.

Croatia has from the beginning tried to have this horses returned as they were stolen. LIF has been assisting in these negotiations over the year. The return of these horses is a political issue and must be resolved between the two Governments of Croatia and Serbia. Currently negotiations are ongoing at the ministerial level, and it is hoped that they can come to a quick resolution as now has evolved into a political embarrassment.

According to a news bulletin on BBC news, the current “caretaker/owner” of the horses has requested $410,000 for care of these horses over the years (see attachment). Croatia is refusing to pay this amount as their stand is that the horses were illegally acquired.

Ingun hopes this will clear up some of the issues that has been discussed in various e-mails. The Europeans, as well as LIF, are very aware of the issues and have worked diligently over many years trying to resolve this very sad issue.

LIF has on several occasions assisted in these negotiations. It has now become an important political issue and must be resolved between the two governments. As soon as anything further is heard, it will be passed on to you.