In 1812, Major Villars Lunn, who owned a breeding facility in Nordsealand, Denmark, decided to breed two horses. One was the unusually colored Flaebehoppen, a small chestnut mare with a spotted blanket marking on her back, a white mane and tail, and a dusting of snowflake markings throughout her body. She was bred to a Fredirecksborg stallion.
The result was beautiful spotted foal. Time after time, Flaebehoppen and her offspring produced spotted foals with all kinds of patterns, including leopard and blanket. Before long, Lunn's breeding facility consisted of many spotted, Baroque-type horses with great bloodlines. These horses were called Knabstruppers, after the manor Lunn owned.
Danish soldiers used the sturdy horses as war mounts, but other people throughout Europe also sought after this beautiful breed. They loved the gorgeous spots the breed had. However, in 1891 a large barn fire occured at the Lunn stable, killing 22 of their top horses. With a small gene pool and the best of the horses gone, the breed was at risk. Supporters of the breed worked hard to save the Knabstrupper before it was lost for good. In 1947, they started a stud farm, Egemosegaard, and in 1971 three Appaloosa stallions were imported to Denmark to breed with Knabstrupper mares. From there, the number of Knabstruppers began to increase.
|Knabstrupper sport horse(credit)|
In 2002, Mike a Caroline Athey became interested in the breed, so arrangements were made for a Knabstrupper stallion, Apollon, to be bred with three Appaloosa mares, approved by the Knabstrupper's breed society. Later, Knabstrupper mares and stallions were imported to America. Today, the breed is increasing in popularity.
Breed Description and Uses
The Knabstrupper can come in three different body types: Sport, Baroque, and Pony. The Sport type was bred specifically to compete in sports, such as show jumping, dressage, and eventing, by crossing the Knabstrupper with various wamrbloods. The Baroque horse is shorter and stockier than the first, and is what the original carriage and war Knabstruppers looked like. The last is a small, spotted pony version of the Baroque suitable for children. Despite their differences, most Knabstruppers have several things in common, such as their kind temperament, trainability, strength, and stamina.
All Knabstruppers have spotted patterns similar to that of an Appaloosa, with leopard being the most common.