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Ljutomer trotter
Ljutomer trotter is a medium-built, friendly, and lively breed, known for its grace and attractive proportions. Foto: MMC RTV SLO

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A historic passion for horses

Slovenia Revealed
13. July 2017 ob 07:52
Ljubljana - MMC RTV SLO

Slovenia’s Ljutomer area in the northeastern part of the country is famous for its white wines and its bucolic landscapes, but few realize that it’s also the origin of a unique breed of horse. A museum has now been set up to share the story of the Ljutomer trotter with the world.

Horse breeding has been a mainstay in the Ljutomer region for centuries. A horse, or rather a unicorn, can even be found in the local coat-of-arms. In the 18th century, warm blooded Oriental horses were introduced to the region, and the local aristocracy began to breed horses on a large scale. Ljutomer became known as a town in which many ordinary townspeople owned several horses, including some used primarily for racing.

As the breeding process became increasingly professional, a unique local breed emerged. Known as the Ljutomer trotter, it’s a medium-built, friendly, and lively breed, known for its grace and attractive proportions.

The Ljutomer trotter helped to make the town synonymous with horses, and regular horse races have been held in town since 1874. Ljutomer’s horse riders also established a reputation for excellence at races elsewhere in Slovenia and beyond. The town’s horses were even featured in the first film footage ever shot in Slovenia – the work of local filmmaker Karol Grossmann in 1903.

Unfortunately, the number of purebred Ljutomer trotting horses began to decline in the 20th century, primarily because of large-scale imports of foreign breeds. To draw attention to the town’s indigenous horse breed, the local racing club set up a museum devoted exclusively to the Ljutomer trotter. Since it opened its doors in 2012, the museum has given curious visitors a chance to examine photos, documents, and trophies connected with the breed and the area’s famous races. Centuries after the first horses came to Ljutomer, the museum is helping to keep the town’s equine tradition alive.

Jaka Bartolj