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Rare Lipizzaner Comes To The Midlands Equine Fair

The all-indoor Midlands Equine Fair, which is taking place at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, on 8 & 9 March, is attracting a wide range of horse breeds, but none has such a romantic history as the Lipizzaner.

There are only 3,500 pure bred Lipizzaners in the world, and they are best known as the horses that are the celebrities at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna. Adult Lipizzaners are usually white, and there will be several of them in attendance at the Midlands Equine Fair - not least the members of international four in hand driving champion Dick Lane's teams. But they are likely to upstaged by Neapolitano Inka (known as Buttons to his friends) who is a very rare brown adult gelding, and who is making his first visit to the Fair this year.

Only one in 400 adult Lipizzaners are brown, a statistic that makes Buttons very special indeed. But if that were not enough, Buttons also has a royal ancestor - his grandmother was given to Her Majesty the Queen as a present from President Tito of Yugoslavia. When Tito died the mare was sold to Una Harley of the Starrock Stud near Shaftesbury, who has been a successful breeder of Lipizzaners for over 35 years. Buttons is a Yugoslavian cross Austrian Lipizzaner bred by Una, who now lives in Wales with his owner Alan Thomas.

"We are delighted to be able to show Buttons off at the Midlands Equine Fair," said Una, who began her international breeding career with Arabs and Anglo Arab performance horses and whose current activities include breeding not only Lipizzaners but also miniature Shetlands and Bengal cats. "He is an absolute delight, and we have every confidence that he will steal the show!"

Sandra Turner of Contour Exhibitions and Events, organisers of the Midlands Equine Fair, added: "We always try to make the Fair a great event for everybody, and we certainly have something for everyone at this year's event. We are delighted that Buttons will be joining us - for many people this might be the only time in their lives that they will ever see a pure bred brown Lipizzaner."

As well as the Lipizzaner Society of Great Britain, other breed societies attending the indoor Midlands Equine Fair include: the Irish Draught Horse Society; the Cleveland Bay Horse Society; the Appaloosa Horse Society; the British Skewbald & Piebald Association; the Fjords and Lipizzaner Stud-Book; the Shetland Stud Book; Exmoors; the Icelandics Society of Great Britain; Haflingers; the Caspian Horse Society and the British Morgan Horse Society.

Tickets for the Midlands Equine Fair are available in advance from Contour Exhibitions & Events by calling 08700 115007 and advance booking discounts are available. Further information and leaflets are available by calling 01884 841644, or by logging on at

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