Sport horses with a difference are being bred in Kent, where Czech-born Kamilla Bauer-Lewis has established a stud for the ancient Bohemian breed, the Kinsky horse.
Their eye-catching metallic gold colour has made the breed a national treasure in the Czech Republic, but the Kinsky, bred since the 15th century as a cavalry horse, has also been highly successful in dressage and show jumping.
There are currently fewer than 1,000 Kinsky horses registered in the world, and Kamilla plans to breed 30 animals a year for sale at her base near Sevenoaks.
She says: “Traditionally, the breed has strong links with the UK — in 1776 Count Kinsky, charged by the Czech royal family with developing horse breeding to provide the cavalry with high quality mounts, travelled to Britain to buy Thoroughbreds which were used to improve the bloodlines.”
The breed has triumphed in the Pardubice steeplechase, established by legendary horseman Oktavian Kinsky and, in 1883, Count Karel Kinsky won the Grand National on the Kinsky mare Zoedone.
The breed suffered turbulent times in the 20th century under the regime of the USSR, although the Kinsky family kept the bloodlines going, but since the fall of the Iron Curtain it has regained its place as a symbol of the nation.