Spanish Riding School Donates Oats for Bosnian Lipizzans; Controversial Serbian Farm Inspected

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The Spanish Riding School in Vienna showed solidarity with other traditional national stud farms this week when it announced that the Austrian institution will donate 24 tons of oats to the historic Lipizzan state stud in Bosnia.

The oats, grown at the Spanish Riding School's famed stud farm at Piber, will be shipped to the Bosnian stud at Vucijak, said Armin Aigner, director of the School.

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

The Spanish Riding School and Austria's environment ministry decided to help the Bosnian white horses by providing food for about one year.

Breeding records show that there are still strong bloodline connections between the horses in Bosnia and the famous Lipizzans bred in Austria. The breed remains essentially unchanged since the baroque era.

Meanwhile, not far away, Serbian officials have Lipizzaners on their minds after charges that horses from the Croatian stud are not receiving proper care.

According to the Balkan news agency Beta, the horses were brought to north Serbia from Lipik, Croatia, in 1991 to protect them during the war.

The Lipizzaners are at a farm northwest of Belgrade and are the source of a dispute between Serbia and Croatia over ownership and the cost of care.

Earlier this week, animal protection groups and the media reported that many of the horses were sick and on the verge of starvation.

Serbian Agriculture Minister Slobodan Milosavljevic visited the farm to examine the horses and said he found nothing to warrant concern. The Beta news agency also quoted veterinarians saying they had examined 74 horses and all were healthy.