About Kinsky Horses
Kinsky, or Equus Kinsky, were Europe's original sport horse.
They were bred until the middle of the 20th century in Bohemia, a part of the
modern-day Czech Republic. At one time they were the most prominent breed in europe.
The development of the Kinsky horse is closely linked with
the history of the Chlumec branch of the Kinsky family and in particular Count
Oktavian Kinsky (1813–1896). The family of the Count had for decades bred
Thoroughbreds for horse racing or steeplechasing. The first known mention of
the breed term "Kinsky horse" or the now-protected designation
"Equus Kinsky" is from the year 1838, with the creation of modern
sport horse stud book. Prior to 1838, the horses were known only as the
particular horses bred by the various Counts Kinsky of the branch living in
Chlumec nad Cidlinou.
The Kinsky family leaders were raised to the rank of Count
in 1628. Thereafter, the Kinsky family received an order to develop their stud
farm and breed horses for the Emperor's cavalry in the early 18th century.
Horses with the best stamina, boldness and amenable personality suitable for
battle and loyal to their riders were preferred, along with the golden color.
In 1776, the quality of the horse was further improved through bloodstock from
England. In 1814 Countess Kinsky arrived in Vienna for the International
Congress riding a golden Kinsky horse; this attracted huge attention and the
golden horse became sought after throughout Europe. Under the direction of
Count Oktavian Kinsky, the stud near the Chlumec castle was expanded further
and the studbook, which is still in use, was developed. Count Octavian was
eccentric but a keen horseman. In 1874 he introduced an exhausting steeplechase,
the Paradubice, where his own horses competed, frequently placed - and
Count Karel Kinsky rode the Kinsky mare Zoedone to win the
Grand National at Aintree England in 1883. The next year at the same race, his
horse collapsed. The horse was not raced again and was retired to the Kinsky
Following the communist takeover and the election of Klement
Gottwald in 1948, many of the Bohemian nobility fled, including the Kinsky
family, who left Chlumec, with a consequent dispersal of the Kinsky herd.
However, Count Radslav Kinsky remained in Chlumec until 1953 and when he
returned in 1989 to reclaim his property, he helped found a club called
"Equus Kinsky" to protect the remaining herd of Kinsky horses and
eventually resurrect the breed. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and
expanded contact with the west brought the breed greater recognition.
Authorities in the Czech Republic now consider this breed an emblem of the
country and the horses are now legally protected.
By the end of the 20th century, the Kinsky horse breed had
been partly assimilated into the Czech warm blood. The Kinsky horse is no
longer threatened today (2006), but with less than 1,000 Kinsky horses
surviving worldwide it is one of the rarest horse breeds in the world.
The Czech Republic has recognized that Kinsky horses were
worth saving as cultural property. Various breeders of Kinsky horses are
expanding their breeding programs in central Europe and there are also breeders
and enthusiasts of the Kinsky horse in England, America, and elsewhere. Their
future looks safer, and some promoters have the goal of seeing a Kinsky horse
once again running at The European Grand National - Pardubice to celebrate more
than 160 years of the Kinsky sport horse and countless more of the Kinsky horse
Kinsky horses are usually between 15.2 to 17 hands (62 to 68
inches, 157 to 173 cm) in height. They are considered to have stamina,
athleticism and good character. Much importance is attached to the balanced,
good-natured character of these horses. From birth, Kinsky horses are all very
much inclined towards humans, friendly and curious. Around 40% of Kinsky horses
have coats in various shades of gold, due to the cream dilution gene, while
others are bay, chestnut, or black (although black is very rare). The Kinsky
horse is known for its extremely glossy, almost metallic, coat.
They are a versatile, multipurpose horse, suited to
dressage, military and police applications, eventing, steeplechasing, fox
hunting, show jumping and polo.