With Lipizzan horses, from Lipica to Vienna
Lipica, 9 June - A German couple have set out on a 585-kilometre journey from the Slovenian town of Lipica to the Austrian capital of Vienna with a carriage with five Lipizzan horses.
Andreas and Ute Matern will travel 30-50 kilometres a day from the Lipica Stud Farm to the Spanish Riding School in Vienna, hoping to complete the feat in two weeks.
The couple will travel the roads that used to be taken by horse-driven carriages over the past centuries when Lipica was the Hapsburg empire's stud farm.
The last time a Lipizzan-driven carriage travelled from Lipica to Vienna was 39 years ago when Lipica celebrated its 400th anniversary, the Slovenian stud farm said.
The Materns will travel with a carriage with four Slovenian white Lipizzan horses and one black Croatian one.
The first leg of the journey took them today to the village of Gornja Košana and the plan for tomorrow is to arrive in Nova Vas, some 25 kilometres south of Ljubljana.
"Andreas and Ute Matern are the outstanding ambassadors of Slovenian Lipizzan horses and horse enthusiasts for whom the word impossible does not exist," Lorela Dobrinja, acting director of Holding Kobilarna Lipica, said as she wished them a safe journey.
She believes that with their positive outlook they link Europe's horse traditions. Six years ago, they harnessed Slovenian Lipizzans to a carriage for their first such journey which took them on a 734-kilometre ride from Germany's Bavaria to Slovenia's Gorenjska.
In 2016, they continued their celebration of Lipizzan horses by making a journey from the Barbana Lipizzan stud farm in Gorenjska to the Lipica Stud Farm.