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Horse Articles :: Knapstrub Horse
One of the characteristics of the Knapstrup is its interesting
colouring, for example, white body hair with all over dark
spots. This eye-catching combination, together with remarkable
learning abilities and a good temperament have made it a popular
choice as a performer in the circus.
Spotted horses date back to the age of the Vikings and they
can be seen in early Chinese art. The Knabstrup dates back
to the Napoleonic wars and is of Spanish ancestry. The breed
was founded on a spotted mare, Flaebehoppen, who was acquired
by a butcher called Flaebe (hence her name) when she was left
behind by the Spanish troops. She was exceptionally fast with
great endurance and in 1808 her next owner, Major Villars
Lunn, crossed her with a Palomino-coloured Frederiksborg stallion
and named the breed after his estate. In 1813 the mare gave
birth to a colt that later became the founding father of the
The original breed is almost extinct due to too much cross
breeding and emphasis being put on breeding the coat colour
rather than for conformation. The numbers of purebred Knabstrup
went into decline through subsequent crossings back to the
Frederiksborg, however, similar spotted horses can still be
seen in Denmark.
The colour patterns vary within the breed, the most popular
being the leopard which is a solid white background covered
with black, bay, or chestnut spots. Other patterns include
the blanket, the snowcap, the snowflake and the “few spot,”
as the name suggests it is almost solid white. However, when
bred it usually produces a foal with some type of spotted
pattern, though there are some Knabstrups born with solid
colours, such as bay, chestnut, or gray.
The breed originated in and is still bred in Denmark, it is
now also bred in Germany, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland,
the United Kingdom, and most recently in the USA. The modern
Knabstrups are bred to preserve the breed as a riding horse
regardless of size. This is one of the only breeds that can
present horses in all sizes, from pony size to full horse
size. The horses usually stand at about 15.2 to 16.h.h and
the ponies are under 14.2.h.h. The breed varies in conformation,
but the best examples have reasonably good overall conformation.
It is intelligent and easy to train; the head is well proportioned
with a kind expression; there is mottled skin colouring on
the lips and muzzle; the mane and tail are sparse. The colour
is predominantly white with black or brown spots of varying
size all over the body, head and legs.
This sound, tough, kind natured horse that enjoys performing,
is increasing in popularity in the show ring and at competitive
About The Author
Kathryn Dalziel is an artist, author and lecturer. Her specialist
subject is the horse which include portraits and equine painting.
For more information about horses go to http://www.horse-owners-world.co.uk
the comprehensive equine site for horse enthusiasts.