I officially embarked on my 2017 adventure with the Lipizzaners at an Open Day at the National Stud Farm Topoľčianky in Slovakia on 1st May 2017. At this annual event, the stud farm presents its guests and visitors with a rich programme that traditionally includes a Lipizzaner quadrille and haute-école riding demonstrations.
The Topoľčianky National Stud Farm is one of the most prominent horse breeding centers in Europe and uniquely specializes in the breeding of traditional and sports horses. At the start of the Slovak horsebreeding effort, there were 32 indigenous Lipizzaner mares mostly born in 1915 and 1916 at the stud farm in Lipica. The National Stud Farm at Topoľčianky has six classic stallion lines: Neapolitano, Pluto, Favory, Maestoso, Conversano a Siglavy. In addition to these classic stallion lines, there are ten Lipizzůaner mare families: Stornella, Rava, Deflorata, Presciana, Gidrana, Theodorosta, Sardinia, Africa, Spadiglia and Europa. (Excerpt from my book „Lipicáni – Lipizzaners“)
The director of the National Stud Farm Topoľčianky Ing. Michal Horný introduced my new project CZECH LIPIZZAN EXPEDITION 2017 in person to the former president of the Slovak Republic Mr. Ivan Gašparovič, the current Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of the Slovak Republic Mrs. Gabriela Matečná, and the Director General for Agriculture Mr. Štefan Ryba.
Mr. Ivan Gašparovič knows my work from my photographic books. In 2010, he did me the honour of opening my exhibition of photographs of Lipizzaner and Friesian horses at the National Stud Farm Topoľčianky entitled BLACK AND WHITE. https://www.foto-gregor.com/language/en/2010/10/black-and-white-slovakia/ At our latest meeting this Saturday, Mr. Gašparovič inscribed and signed his book for me.
I also had the privilege of meeting Mr. František Hrúzik and wish him all the best for his 90th birthday. Mr. Hrúzik competed in eventing at the 1960 Olympics in Rome as the only equestrian representing former Czechoslovakia.
I was accompanied in Topoľcianky by Mr. Milan Vítek, former director of the National Stud in Kladruby nad Labem, the Stud Farm Albertovec and a former Czechoslovak competitor in show jumping.