In 2002, when the first Knabstrupper foals were
born in N. America, the Knabstrupper mother registry, the KNN of
Denmark, had no presence here. The Rhineland-Pfalz-Saar of Germany
graciously stepped in and agreed to inspect Knabstrupper mares and foals
and put them into a separate Knabstrupper book of the RPSI. But
Knabstruppers were not RPSI’s focus and they did not promote the breed.
The American Knabstrupper Association will officially cease operations on June 1, 2011.
Those with mares registered with the American
Knabstrupper Association are encouraged to present those mares to the
KNN for breeding approval and to continue to produce top quality
|About the Knabstrupper|
to have originated from the pre-history spotted horses of the region of Europe
now known as Spain, the Knabstrupper is one of the oldest breed registries in
Europe. Established in 1812, the Knabstrupper started with a single chestnut
blanketed mare purchased by a Danish butcher named Flaeb from a Spanish cavalry
officer. The mare, who became known as FLAEBEHOPPEN (which literally means
“Flaeb’s mare), was purchased by Major Villars Lunn who owned an estate
called “Knabstrupgaard” in Holbaek, Nordsealand, Denmark.
Flaeb’s mare was bred to a Fredricksborg stallion and produced a wildly colored stallion son who was named Flaebehingsten. Between the two of them, Flaebehoppen and Flaebehingsten were bred to a large variety of good quality horses, producing loudly colored offspring and grand offspring and establishing the Knabstrupper horses as some of the most sought after in Europe at that time.
A BREED ALMOST LOST
By the 1870’s the breed’s continuation was severely threatened as the limited number of Knabstrupper horses lead to unavoidable problems of inbreeding. Then in 1891, a fire at the Lunn family stables destroyed 22 of its top breeding horses. By 1900, the breed’s numbers and quality had declined significantly. But supporters of the Knabstrupper horses continued to fight for the survival of the breed, and in 1947 the stud farm “Egemosegaard” attempted to reestablish the breed. In 1971, breeder Frede Nielsen brought three Appaloosa stallions to Denmark to infuse new blood into the breed. This was a logical step, as the American Appaloosa developed directly from the Spanish spotted horses that were brought to the New World from Europe by Cortez and Coronado in the early 1500’s.
Knabstruppers are valued for their kind temperaments, high level of trainability, strength, stamina and good health as well as for their wonderful color. Over the past two centuries, there have come to be three rather distinct types of Knabstruppers: the Sport Horse type, the Baroque type and the Pony type. The Sport Horse type has been bred to excel in dressage, eventing and show jumping and has been developed by crossing the Knabstrupper with the warmblood sport horses of Europe, most notably the Danish Warmblood and the Trakehner. The Baroque type is a shorter, broader horse reminiscent of a carriage horse or war horse and was very popular as a circus horse. The Pony type is smaller still and is a favorite of children all over Europe.
Knabstrupper horse exhibits the same color patterns as the American Appaloosa,
as they share the same color genes. The most popular color pattern is the
leopard with its solid white background covered with black, bay or chestnut
spots. Other patterns include the blanket, the snowflake, the snowcap and the
“few spot,” an almost solid white horse that, when bred, always produces a
foal with a spotted pattern of some kind.
KNABSTRUPPERS IN NORTH AMERICA
Until 2002, there were no Knabstrupper horses in North America.
When frozen semen from the premier Knabstrupper stallion, Apollon, became
available in North America, Texans Mike & Caroline Athey became interested
in breeding these wonderful horses. Because this is a European breed that
requires inspection for breeding and registration, and the Danish Knabstrupper
registry did not have an affiliate organization here, arrangements were made
with the German Rheinland-Pfalz-Saar registery (the “RPSI”) to inspect and
register the North American bred Knabstruppers. There were no Knabstrupper mares
available here, so the search began for a few very exceptional Appaloosa mares
that might be acceptable to the registry. Three such mares were found, inspected
and approved. They were then bred to Apollon. Other American breeders bred
warmblood mares to Apollon. On April 1, 2002, the first Knabstrupper foal was
born in North America. Named “American Beauty,” she was born to the
Athey’s Macarn Farm in Canton, Texas.
In 2003, American breeders were delighted to learn that Apollon had been imported to the United States, where he stood at Silverwood Farm in Virginia for two years.. Recently, several Knabstrupper mares and young stallion prospects have been imported and semen from other top quality Knabstrupper stallions has been made available to American breeders.
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to learn more about this wonderful breed and for membership in the AKA.
The wonderful Knabstrupper stallion, Apollon
The first Knabstrupper foals born in North America were born to Macarn Farm in Canton, TX.
You can also read about the breed at the following links: