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The Equus Kinsky

21. 1. 2012


Throughout the middle ages, Bohemia lay at the centre of European power, and at one time the kingdom ruled over lands from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Mediterranean in the south. The demands on horses were great. The breeding of top quality horses was paramount since quite often the rider's life or even the nation's future might depend on it.

Stories of courageous and agile Kinsky horses have become legend. With stamina and character they are widely thought to be one of the world's best horses.

The Kinsky Legend begins in Central Europe more then 1000 years ago, when a hunting party led by a Princess was attacked by wolves. Her entourage scattered but one man stood his ground and drove off the wolves killing three. In gratitude the King knighted the brave young man and a coat of arms featuring three wolves' teeth was chosen as a reminder of his gallant act.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the power of the House of Kinsky grew, as did the notoriety of Kinsky horses, primarily bred for cavalry use in addition to Kinsky carriage horses. In 1723 the royal family commissioned the Kinsky family to expand horse breeding thus providing their cavalry officers with mounts of Kinsky quality.

In 1776 Count Kinsky travelled to England to buy the best thoroughbreds available to strengthen the bloodlines.

In 1813 the Countess Kristina Kinsky-Liechtenstein arrived at the Vienna International Congress in a carriage drawn by six gold Kinsky horses, creating a minor sensation at the time and in so doing promoting the demand for gold sport and carriage Kinsky horses across Europe.

In 1813, Oktavian Kinsky was born, one of Europe's most famous horsemen. In 1832 Oktavian Kinsky built a modern stud farm in Eastern Bohemia and in 1836 held the first English style foxhunt in Bohemia.

In 1838 the original Kinsky studbook was joined by a sport horse studbook with great importance being placed upon temperament, stamina and agility. The same studbook is in use today.

In 1846 Oktavian Kinsky founded an English style steeplechase in Bohemia and in 1874 he went on to create the European Grand National, which is now known as the Pardubice Grand National, Europe's most testing horse race.

In 1883 the Kinsky mare Zoedone, ridden by Count Karel Kinsky came to England and won the Grand National at Aintree.

Entering the 20th century, the Kinsky horses won the Pardubice Grand National a further six times, most notably in 1937 when the race was won by the gold Kinsky mare Norma, ridden by Countess Lata Brandisova, the first and only time Europe's most challenging race was won by a lady.

In 1948 the USSR seized all Kinsky Estates, horses and banned foxhunting. Thanks to the great efforts of some Kinsky family members and the quality stock they held, the standards of Kinsky horses were not affected by the communist regime in force. In 1989 Bohemia's Russian episode ended, and is now part of the Czech Republic, where the Kinsky horse is regarded as a national treasure.

Since Kinsky horses have been free to compete again they have had some notable successes in dressage at the National championships, show jumping, military (eventing) and western riding. The popularity of Kinsky horses is now spreading beyond national borders.

The Kinsky horse is one of the rarest breeds of horse with less than 1,000 Kinsky horses registered in the world today.

The Kinsky horse is easy to train, placid but with enough spirit to make them individuals. The horses also have the extraordinary gold metallic sheen to their coats which is unique to this breed.