Riding Holidays in Transylvania-equestrian tourism in the land of Dracula

Our Horses

Hutzul | Bucovina | Lipizzaner | Arabian | Semigreu medium draught horse

Stefan cel Mare uses only locallybred horses-many are bred on the premisesof the Lipizzaner, Semigreu, Arabian, Bucovina, and Hutzul breeds. The calm, well-mannered temperament of these horses makes them well-suited to riders of varying abilities. And because the horses remain at the centre long-term, the staff know the character and special needs of each animal.

Horses average between 1.4 metres and 1.6 metres (14 hands to 15.2 hands), are of medium build, and are adaptable, fit, and well-suited to the terrain (which can get rough in places) rather than fast. Mares and geldings are used, although the centre's stock does include a pair of Hutzul stallions for draught and carriage work. English general purpose and endurance saddles are used on all horses and some stock saddles, which are rather like military saddles, are also available.

Horses are vital to life in Transylvania and Stefan cel Mare upholds the highest standards of horsemanship and care. In addition to working with the Romanian Ministry of Tourism to train and examine new equestrian guides, the centre supports farriery training in the local community, passing on knowledge of the latest shoeing methods. The centre's own on-site farrier holds a diploma issued by the International League for the Protection of Horses and its horses are shod using the most up-to-date Natural Balance techniques, which more closely simulate how the animal's feet would be without human intervention. Stefan cel Mare believes that its horses are amongst the best shod and cared for in the country.


The most numerous breed at the equestrian centre is the Hutzul (also called Hutul, Huzul, and Hucul), the characteristic breed of the Carpathian Mountains, descended from the primitive Tarpan. The centre's Hutzuls hail from the historic Lucina stud (50 kilometres from the centre), which was breeding horses for the Moldavian prince Stephen the Great (Stefan cel Mare) in the 15th century. The Hutzul is strong, lively, sensible, sure-footed, frugal, and resistant to severe winter weather, making it an ideal mountain breed.

Nelly (far right in photo) is the leader of the centre's herd of Hutzul horses. Descended from a mare captured on the Eastern Front in 1917, she is noted as “record quality” in the Lucina stud book. Strong and intelligent, she stands at around 14 hands (1.4 metres).



The Bucovina is a development of the Hutzul, obtained by using a heavier stallion. It is the typical breed of the Bucovina region, which is east of the equestrian centre.

Roua is a typical Bucovina mare, sired by the splendid stallion Molid I at Lucina stud. Molid's sire was 75% Ardennes and 25% Trotter and his dam was Heavy Draft Hungarian. Roua stands at around 14.2 hands (1.45 metres) and is a strong, kind, and sensible mare.








The Lipizzaner is one of the great breeds associated with the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which established studs across present-day Romania. Bred in Romania for over 200 years, two studs continue to breed these horses today, the nearest 80 kilometres from the equestrian centre at Beclean-pe-Somes. Most Romanian Lipizzaners are chestnut and bay rather than the more familiar white.

Corbu (on the right in photo) is a gelding standing at about 14.2 hands (1.45 metres). He comes from the Incitato line and is a kind horse with a beautiful, comfortable action.






The Arabian has been bred in Romania since Habsburg times. Arabians of traditional type are still bred, and the centre's mare, Arabella (on the left in photo above), belongs to the El Sbaa line and typifies the excellent traditional Arabian types bred in Romania and their characteristic intelligence, energy, and grace.



Semigreu medium draught horses

The Semigreu medium draught horse was created after the Second World War to improve the local horse stock. The breed was created in two strains, the larger from the Ardennes, Trotter, and Furioso-North Star (an Anglo-Arabian derivative), and the smaller from the Ardennes, Lipizzaner, and a variety of local horses such as Hutzuls and even Arabians. The result was a strong, energetic, versatile breed.

Kaluga represents the heavier strain, at around 15.2 hands (1.55 metres). She is generally used for draught work around the equestrian centre, such as carting the manure, ploughing, and logging, and for pulling a carriage, but can also be ridden and is useful for heavier riders.

Gelu (pictured) is a good, reliable light draught horse of a common type in Romania, where many farms still depend on good general-purpose horses. He stands at around 15 hands (1.5 metres) and is used for riding, pulling a cart or carriage, ploughing, and logging.