Knabstrupper Horses
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About Knabstrupper HorsesAbout Knabstrupper Horses



rnrnKnabstrupper Horses, also known as Knabstrup or TigerrnHorses, are a Danish breed of horse with an unusual range of coat coloration,rnoften with tiger-like stripes.

rnrnIn 1812 Villars Lunn, owner of the manor house Knabstrupgaard,rnbought from a butcher named Flaebe. Probably the mare was of Spanish origin,rnbut it looked very much like an English hunter type. The butcher had bought thernmare from a Spanish officer, stationed in Denmark during the Napoleon wars.

rnrnThe unusual color of the Flaebe mare was memorable. She wasrndark red with a white mane and tale, covered with small white snowflakes on herrnbody, and brown spots on her blanket.rn

rnrnThere has been a lot of guessing about the origin of the Flaebernmare, but a possible theory is, that she descends from Meklenbourg in Germany,rnwhere the Spanish were stationed before they came to Denmark.rn

rnrnHorses at the Knabstrup stud farm were bred for strength andrnhard work. The Flaebe mare stood out for her strength and stamina. As an examplernin 1816, the Titular councilor of state V. Lunn was run over by a carriage andrnhis leg was broken. In a hurry a farmhand took a two horse team, the Flabe marernand one other. He rode to Holbaek, found that the doctor wasn’t home, fromrnthere to Buttrup vicarage, where he did find a doctor, and then again, back tornKnabstrup. The team rode at least 30 km in 105 minutes. One horse was damagedrnfor life; but the very next day the Flaebe mare was back in the fields to work.rnAt that time she was 15 years old.rn

rnrnThe Flaebe mare became the breed mother of the Knabstruprnhorses. All of her progenies had fantastic colors, and she never delivered arnone colored foal. She was once covered by a yellow Frederiksborg stallion, andrntheir foal was a colt, named The Flaebestallion, and he became the foundationrnfor the new spotted breed. The Flaebestallion had a very unusual color as wellrnand was often mentioned as having more than 20 different colors with a specialrnmetalshining glow.rn

rnrnAnother colt of the Flaebe mare was Mikkel, born 1818. Hernwas son of his half brother the Flaebestallion, and was famous for his resultsrnin horseracing. These races were seen by many people, and gave the Knabstruprnhorse the reputation of being a powerful and a great working capacity. Mikkelrnis probably the most famous horse in the Knabstrup breed.rn

rnrnKnabstrup horses were known for their high spirit andrnenergetic action yet they were not temperamental. They showed no signs of beingrnmalicious, and never had vices like cribbing and wind swallowing. The fact thatrnthey were never put into stalls, but mostly left outside, accounts for theirrnruggedness. Knabstrup horses also arernable to live to a very old age.rn

rnrnDanish officers often used Knabstrup horses as mounts duringrnthe war 1848-1850. (Schleswig war), but unfortunately, because of theirrneye-catching color, they made good targets for the enemy. In the Battle ofrnIsted, 1850, two officers rode bright colored Knabstrup horses, and they bothrngot shot. Colonel Laessoee’s horse, a colorful mare Nathalie, escaped unharmedrnas the colonel was shot, and in the years to come, she went on to raisernoffspring. One foal was named Laessoee after the fallen Colonel.rn

rnrnThe other officer, general Schleppegral, had once used Mikkelrnas his personal riding horse. During the Battle of Isted he rode one of thernMikkel horses, and was also shot during the fighting. The stallion ran off andrndisappeared. All efforts of the Danish Army to find the valuable horse were inrnvain.

rnrnUnknown to the army, several farmers in the hills of Skovby,rncaught the red spotted stallion, and kept him hidden till the end of the war.rnKnowing his value, they kept their lips sealed, but used him as a sire. Thernresulting horses were named them Schnapegral-peerd horses and became separatedrnfrom the original Knabstrup breed, and were greatly sought after by farmers inrnthe area. Much to their advantage, the stallions had fine carriage, peculiarrncoloring, and lovely appearance. As late as 1910, a local was using a directrndescendent of the earlier hidden Stallion.rn

rnrnUnfortunately during the 1870s, the Knabstrup horses were toornclosely line bred for many generations. The resulting inbreeding caused greatrndifficulties in retaining color and quality, and their quality began tornregress. Plus in 1891, 22 Knabstrup horses was killed during arnfire. The combination of the inbreeding and the killed horses resulted in arndecline in the popularity and number of Knabstrup horses.rn

rnrnThough the horses of the Knabstrup stables met theirrndownfall, they left behind a great influence on horse breeding in Denmark. Andrnover time breeders began outcrossing to horses of Knabstrup parentage, and arnnew strain of spotted horses was fostered. They are still known as Knabstruprnhorses, and today they are popular again.rnrn

rnrnKnabstruppers today are bred in Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland,rnItaly, Germany, Netherland, United Kingdom, USA, and, most recently, CzechrnRepublic, Australia and New Zealand.rnrn

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