Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Fans succeed in resurrecting extinct Moravian horse breed

25 August 2016

Prague, Aug 24 (CTK) - A group of fans has "miraculously" succeeded in resurrecting the Moravian Warmblood, a horse breed that was considered extinct, after 20 years of effort, daily Pravo writes on Wednesday.

At present, about 240 horses of this noble breed, which is one of the world's smallest in numbers, inhabit pastures across the Czech Republic.

The good qualities of the Moravian Warmblood were well known to the first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrigue Masaryk (1850-1937), who himself rode one, his favourite stallion Hektor, the daily writes.

The Moravian Warmblood mostly includes bay horses, which experts praise not only as reliable riding horses but also coach and cart horses.

Its ancestors can be traced down in documents back to the period of the 18th-century Habsburg Empress Maria Theresa.

The breed arose from crossing Arab horses and English warmbloods. In the past, it was the most frequent horse breed in Moravia, used by farmers as well as soldiers, the daily writes.

However, in the 20th century, the horses were replaced by machines and they gradually disappeared.

In 1971, the Moravian Warmblood was officially declared a part of the Czech Warmblood, but with a different character and stature.

Twenty years ago, a group of elderly farmers in Uhricice, north Moravia, decided to resurrect the Moravian Warmblood. They had the last surviving mares but lacked stallions who would father new foals.

They started a labourious search in the Czech Warmblood studbooks in which 18,000 horses are registered. They detected several surviving offspring of the Moravian Warmblood and bought them.

The breed needed a genetic refreshment, nevertheless. Help was provided by a horse sperm bank seated in Slovakia, which had fortunately kept the sperm of a pureblooded Moravian Warmblood, Furioso Blazovicky, frozen for 35 years, the daily writes.

In 2004, the authorities restored the Moravian Warmblood studbooks and thereby recognised the breed's existence. At the time, the herd consisted of 80 horses.

Experts say Moravian Warmbloods are ideal "family horses."

"They do not get scared easily. They get on well with small children. They can live on a meadow and need to be taken indoors only in extreme frosts," Petr Galatik, deputy head of the union of the Moravian Warmblood's breeders and fans, is quoted as saying.

The horse is not supposed to be a sport champion but it is ideal for tourism. It was saved in the last moment, said Jana Buresova, who owns two Moravian Warmbloods.

Another breed of Moravian origin, the Lednice Stallion, was not as lucky as the Moravian Warmblood.

In the past, this horse designated for royal courts was bred by the Liechtenstein noble family in Lednice, south Moravia, but now it can only be seen in pictures on display in the Lednice chateau, Pravo writes.

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