Kladruber Horses
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Kladruber (or Kladrubsky kun) horses are the oldest Czech horse breed, and today are considered very rare. Their main breeding center is the National stud farm Kladruby nad Labem in the Czech republic. Kladrubers have been bred there for more than 400 years, which makes them one of the world's oldest horse breeds.  

The Kladruby stud was founded in 1579 by Rudolf II as an Imperial stud, at the Perlstein stables. The breed was based on imported Spanish (such as the Andalusian) and Italian horses, crossed with Neapolitan, Danish, Holstein, Irish, and Oldenburg horses, in addition to heavy Czech breeds. They were first developed to be a galakarosier (a heavy type of carriage horse used to pull the imperial coach), usually in a four- or six-in-hand, at ceremonies and funerals. They originally came in a variety of colors, including palomino and appaloosa, although today they are strictly gray or black, due to a breeding program requiring 18 white (i.e. fully mature grays) and 18 black stallions for various ceremonies of the court.  

The stud was moved during the Seven Years' War to Kopcany, Slovakia and Enyed, Hungary. Due to a fire in 1757, the earliest 200 years of breeding records were lost, and the stud was dissolved before the remaining breeding stock was brought back to the a new stud in Kladruby. The surviving records show a particular influence by several stallions on the herd of gray Kladrubers.  

A stud named Generale is thought to be the progenitor of all gray Kladrubers today, and he produced his son Generalissimus (1797) who produced a separate lineage.    

  They generally stand between 16.2 and 17 hands high 66 to 68 inches (170 to 170 cm) and primarily used in harness. They are suitable for light draft and agriculture, and can be seen at the international levels in the sport of combined driving. This FEI sport makes good use of the Kladruber's calm nature, endurance, and relative speed. Kladrubers are also occasionally crossbred with lighter breeds to produce a more suitable riding horse, usually for dressage.  

Due to their small gene pool and long history of selective breeding, Kladruber type is well "set" and they possess recognizable breed characteristics. Many of these characteristics, such as a prominent Roman or convex facial profile, have been retained from their Baroque ancestors. While the relatively upright shoulder, pasterns and hooves, long back, and short croup are not desirable in a riding horse, these qualities allow independence and freedom of the forehand and hind end. This freedom in turn permits elegant, high-stepping gaits. The high-set, powerful and well-arched neck of the Kladruber was a trademark feature of their Spanish-Neapolitan ancestors, and not only contributes to their appearance in harness, but in conjunction with rather low withers, makes a harness more comfortable for the horse. A horse of substance, the Kladruber possesses a deep, broad chest and sound legs with large joints and hooves. Their legs are unfeathered, though the mane and tail are thick and flowing, and the features are lean rather than fleshy. All gaits, though most especially the trot, should have high action and elasticity with a clear cadence.

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