In the Tracks of Horse Hooves

In the Tracks of Horse Hooves

Take a trip to stud farms, stables, or come see the 132th Velká pardubická steeplechase

In the Tracks of Horse Hooves
Horse breeding has a long tradition in the Czech Republic. East Bohemia is a paradise for horses and people who love horses. It is no wonder as the oldest Czech horse breed, the Kladruber, comes from that area, and it is the home of the oldest stud farm in the world, inscribed on the UNESCO list. There are also sports facilities and facilities for dressage, show jumping and carriage sports in the Czech Republic. Meet these majestic creatures across the Czech Republic!

Kladruby – an equine paradise

Kladruby nad Labem in East Bohemia is a home to a brand new UNESCO site – the National Stud Farm with stables and a chateau. What makes this place so unique? For centuries, the countryside surrounding Kladruby has been modified to the needs of the local stud farm, which is one of the oldest in the world. It was promoted to an imperial court stud farm by Emperor Rudolph II in 1579 and, since then, it has been the home of Kladruber horses, a unique Czech breed specifically developed for the ceremonial purposes of royal courts. To this day, the local white Kladruber horses still pull carriages at European royal courts, and you have the opportunity to enjoy some of the old time atmosphere when you tour the premises of the farm. You can tour the stables, chateau and the carriage house. The premises have been recently reconstructed and they are prepared to welcome visitors interested in horses.

Slatiňany – visiting black horses

Once again, East Bohemia. Once again, a combination of the Slatiňany chateau and a stud farm. And once again, the Kladruber. However, this time it is the black horse variety. Black horses were used for funeral processions or for carriages used by church officers. The history of Kladruber horse breeding goes back to the 16th century. You can meet the horses when visiting the stud farm, in the chateau hippology museum and also in the small museum in the house called Švýcárna. The chateau has other things to offer besides the hippology museum and the tour of the chateau interiors, such as a tour called You Cannot Stop Progress. It takes visitors along the technical conveniences that the last owners, the princely Auersperg family, had installed. You can see, for example, the boiler room, kitchen, bathrooms, as well as the chateau courtyards, the attic and the roof trusses.

Velká pardubická

And what about horse races? Do you watch them? If yes, visit Pardubice in the autumn. You will find the town in East Bohemia. The oldest and probably most difficult cross-country steeplechase on the European continent has been taking place on the second Sunday in October since 1874. This year, the steeplechase will take place on 9 October. The horses and their riders have to manage a track that is 6,900 metres long and overcome 31 hurdles. You can also visit the racetrack outside organised events and take a guided tour, learn something interesting about its history, listen to the stories of famous horses and riders, or check out the hurdles with your own eyes.

Where to go to a ranch

And what about active riders? We have also remembered them. There are numerous ranches, farms and riding schools all over the Czech Republic. Some of them provide housing and training of horses, others offer horse-riding tourism to the public. One such place is Ranch Pilgrim, which can be found in North Bohemia, in the foothills of the Lužické Mountains, in the village of Sloup v Čechách. They specialise in breeding and training a very calm, North American breed. Another interesting ranch is Appaloosa Ranch Lažínky near Moravské Budějovice in South Moravia. There you will find yourselves in the Wild West at the times of its boom! They breed the Indian appaloosa horses there, a breed that is almost unknown in Europe. The ranch is open to the public, they offer horse-riding with a guide and they also organise a whole range of events. The Kostelany Ranch can be found near the historic town of Kroměříž. They also offer horse-riding training, horse-riding trips into the countryside, or horse-riding for children. And you can spend a night in a tepee there!

Wild horses not only in the wild west

A few years ago, a unique project was launched in the Czech Republic. Wild horses, the Exmoor pony, were released in selected areas. It is probably one of the original breeds that formed the European landscape thousands of years ago. At present, you will not see any horses in the wild, but we can give you two tips where the ponies help maintain the original steppe environment in large preserves. One such place is a short trip east of Prague, near Milovice in Central Bohemia. There, you will find a preserve for wild horses, European bison and aurochs. The animals there help preserve the fragile biodiversity by grazing rare steppes and remnants of rich meadows and prevent the overgrowth of biologically valuable localities. There are several lookout platforms, from which you can watch the coexistence of the original large European herbivores. The preserve is so large that horses and other animals there live without any human intervention and supplementary feeding. The second place where you can see wild horses is the Podyjí National Park in South Moravia. More specifically, you will find them in the area of the Havranice moor and the Mašovická shooting range. It is a mix of rocky steppe and meadows and wild horses protect the landscape from being overgrown by trees.