The Royal Stables and the Kladrubers

Royal Stable
Royal Stable

Den Kongelige Stald-Etat, as the royal stable is called in Danish, has been transporting the Royal family around and supplying horses for leisure and hunting activities for 326 years.

Their location at Christiansborg slot in Copenhagen dates back 275 years to 1740, when the former Christiansborg Castle (burned down in 1794 and 1884) stood finished, and the royal horses (more than 250 at the time) moved into their new quarters. Only the circular buildings, stables, and riding hall remain of the original castle as they have escaped both fires.

The danish royal stable is where I first met the beautiful white horses drawing the Royal Coach, the Kladrubers from the Czech Republic. The first horses of that race came to the Royal Stables in 1994 on the suggestion by His Royal Highness Prince Henrik. They have drawn coaches for princely families of Europe for centuries, and since 1994 do so again for the Danish Royal Family.

The main breeding centre is National Horse Breeding Farm in Kladruby nad Labem in the Czech republic where Kladrubers have been bred for more than 400 years. Yet the bred is still remarkably rare. Perhaps that has something to do with the fact that this has always been a sought after and majestic breed which has always been bred to be a royal carriage horse, especially for the House of Habsburg. Founded in 1579 by Rudolf II as an Imperial stud, the Kladruber was based on imported Spanish Andalusian and Italian horses, crossed with Neapolitan, Danish, Holstein, Irish, and Oldenburg blood, in addition to heavy Czech draft horse breeds creating a perfect blend of strength, agility, beauty, intelligence, and temperament.

Due to their small gene pool and long history of selective breeding, Kladruber type is well “set” and they possess recognizable breed characteristics. Many of these characteristics, such as a prominent Roman or convex facial profile, have been retained from their Baroque ancestors.

Black and white Kladrubers have several differences due to their breeding. The white is finer, more Thoroughbredish in type, and usually taller than the black.

The black has more Neapolitan blood, and thus is heavier, has a shorter croup, a different head and neck, and a more “Nordic” look to it.

If you totally fell in love with this majestic horses and are thinking about buying your own, have a look at the National Stud at Kladruby nad Labem official website.

And if you got curious and happen to be in Copenhagen, have a look at the royal stable’s opening hours here and here.

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