Throughout its rich history, Czechoslovakia has been the point of origin for several influential horse breeds. Developed for varied purposes, these horses contributed to the country's military might and ceremonial displays. Their historic importance and continued presence in their land of origin ensures that these horse breeds will continue to be significant in the future.
Kladruber or Kladruby Horse
Considered a baroque-style horse, the Kladruber proved its value as a carriage horse and was used by the ruling class for ceremonial occasions. With large, rectangular bodies and faces punctuated by a slanting "roman" nose, the horses reflect their Spanish-Neapolitan origins with their elegant, high-kneed action. The horses are predominantly grey and black. The National Stud at Kladruby nad Labem, a municipality east of Prague, is the world's oldest established stud farm, according to the United States Kladruber Horse Association. Grey horses are bred at Kladruby nad Labem, while black horses are raised at a separate farm in Slatinany.
The Kinsky horse, one of the rarest horse breeds in the world, has roots steeped in legend. The horses were carefully bred from the finest available stock by the Kinsky family beginning in the Middle Ages, and were revered as agile cavalry mounts and able-bodied carriage horses. As the need for quality cavalry mounts increased, the Bohemian royal family encouraged the Kinsky family to expand their breeding operations. The infusion of English thoroughbred blood in 1776 strengthened the breed's bloodlines. In 1948, the Kinsky estates and horses were seized by the USSR. Concerned family members carefully protected what horses they could, and the breed standard was preserved, according to Equine World UK. Often gold in color and prized for their versatility and agility, the Kinsky horse is once again gaining attention in the competition ring.
Czech Small Riding Horse
Compared to his fellow Czech horses, the Czech small riding horse is a newcomer, first bred in 1980. A small horse standing about 13.2 hands, the Czech small riding horse was developed by the Agricultural University in Nitra from Arabian horses, Hanoverians, Slovak warm bloods, Hucul horses and Welsh ponies, according to PetMD. Foals of these horses were given a rough pasture as living space and trained to harness and saddle when they had matured. Each young horse learned his job quickly. Though relatively rare, Czech small riding horses are calm, intelligent animals that require very little care. They are considered an ideal children's mount.
A large, sturdy horse, the Czech warmblood may also be called Cesny Teplokrevnik and is prized for its speed and agility. Energetic and alert, the horses were used as cavalry mounts in World War I. At this time, thoroughbred and Oldenburg horses were bred to the Czech warmblood to improve its capabilities as a war horse. Following World War II, the use of machinery on farms made the use of horses obsolete, and the Czech warmblood began to disappear, according to PetMD. The animal's value as a riding and sport horse was recognized, and it remains a popular choice in its country of origin.
- John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images