Wrocław – European Capital of Culture 2016 and European Horse City 2019.
Wrocław Racecourse belongs to the City of Wrocław (630 000 citizens). It was designed by R. Jurgens of Hamburg, was opened in 1907 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Silesian Horse Breeders’ and Horse Racing Association. It replaced a racecourse at Szczytniki (where the Centennial Hall is situated today) which was founded in 1833.
HISTORY OF WROCLAW RACECOURSE
Wroclaw Racecourse was booming in 1954-56; for example, in 1955 it staged 28 race meetings featuring no less than 226 races. However, prosperity came to an end soon, and in 1961-62 not a single race was run in Wroclaw. But crowds again filled the Partynice grandstand to capacity in 1969 when Wroclaw hosted the Communist Block Countries Meeting. The best Thoroughbreds from Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, GDR, Poland, Hungary, and the Soviet Union took part, and the Polish Thoroughbreds were very successful taking second spot overall.
Nowadays, up to 40 000 spectators used to visit the racecourse back in the Breslau times. In the early twentieth century horse races were one of the main pastimes of the population. They are still very popular because, despite the rich variety of sports and cultural events today and the multimedia revolution, up to 13,000 spectators may attend Wrocław races. This is how numerous the audience of the Oaks was in 2014. What attracts such crowds to the racecourse? Horses are like a magnet. Their rivalry is a fantastic spectacle. A spectator who bets on a horse of his choosing becomes its owner during the race. This horse wins for him or her. The joy of victory is the joy of life. Poor are those who have not experienced it. The racing season includes so many races that everyone has a chance to succeed.
HIGHER SCHOOL OF RIDING
We will not have high level equestrian sports unless we train juniors in a professional way. This is a well proven rule in football. That is why we have launched a High School of Riding in Wrocław. The project is for primary school students. We buy small horse breeds especially for this venture, developing recreational horse riding and building a sports section. We are the only institution in Poland developing a physical education curriculum for horse riding. Today we have more than 40 horses in the High School of Riding. The goal is 100. Our instructors are trained according to a special standard by Dr Krzysztof Skorupski, an outstanding trainer, practitioner, scientist, author of a unique book "Psychology of horse training".
Horses are to give joy. We are open to discoveries of modern science on horse behaviour and the way they perceive the world, as well as classical schools with a long tradition, not only European. We organise Riding Master Workshops where lessons are given by trainers representing various horsemanship trends. We want the best of the best in our facility, trainers with international achievements and of world renown. Wrocław Racecourse hosts the unique World Bridleless Riding Championship since 2017 (and National Bridleless Championships in years 2014-2016). This is our contribution to the humanisation of riding. Mounted archers from all over the world come to compete in the Euroasia Cup. We promote all forms of horse use, since for us horse riding is both sport and fun.
Our racecourse is over 100 years old. It was built far outside of Wrocław. Now it is surrounded by the city. We want the racecourse to be open to people. This is why we applied for EU funds to modernise it. The design is now ready. New Partynice will allow for a collision-free coexistence of racehorses and people. It will be equipped with a system of tunnels under the track, a huge space for spectators on the inner side of the track, an equestrian education centre, an office and conference centre, gym, hotel, third hall for horses, new stables, car parks, playgrounds for children, restaurant, an observation tower as well as competition and training squares for all equestrian disciplines. We want to be as attractive a meeting place as the market square and the zoo in Wrocław.