Otherwise known as the Knabstrup, the Knabstrupper horse is one of the world’s rarest breed and has perhaps the most unusual markings of all breeds.
The breed hails from Denmark and is famed worldwide for having a spotted coat, due to the Leopard complex. The breed were first established in its home country in 1812, when a chestnut mare with leopard markings was bred with a solid-coloured stallion. The resulting offspring was a colt with the unusual spotted markings for which the breed is now known.
The colt was then repeatedly bred with other horses, as was the original mare, to further establish the Knabstrupper breed and to breed offspring with similar markings. The breed soon became very popular in its home country, though the breed almost died out in the 1970’s due to excessive inbreeding. Breeders then imported three Appaloosa stallions to add new blood to the Knabstrupper genetics. This worked well as both breeds share the same colour gene, the Leopard complex.
Today the breed can be found all over Scandinavia, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, the UK, the US, Czech Republic and even Australia and New Zealand.
Picture Above - Knabstrupper vom Erlerhof
Characteristics and Uses -
The Knabstrupper breed has long been used in dressage and show jumping events, while it is also used for general riding purposes. The breed once were, and are still, popular for use as circus or carriage horses.
A breed which varies in size, the Knabstrupper can range from either 157 to 163cms tall (Up to 16h) or a smaller 147cms, under 14.2 h. As mentioned, they are best known for their unusual dalmatian-like colouration. Coats can vary from solid colours, to the stereotypical leopard markings and many variations in between. Some Knabstruppers are born with solid colours, such as chestnut or bay.
Main Picture - Nellie Ponyfield