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The 3,000-acre National Stud at Kladruby nad Labem, near Pardubice in the Czech Republic, is one of the oldest studs in the world and home to the oldest original Czech horse breed — the Kladruber horse.

The black Kladruber horses are bred at a different stud farm. Credit: Magdalena Strakova

The tradition of horse breeding in Kladruby nad Labem stretches back to the late 14th Century. For over 300 years it was an imperial court stud providing horses for the royal courts in Prague and Vienna.

An impressive 14-in-hand driven by Jiri Nesvacil Jr, who is employed at the National Stud and also competes in driving for the Czech Republic, in front of the stunning stable yard. Credit: Magdalena Strakova

Today, the National Stud stables around 500 horses; 250 grey Kladrubers are bred in the historic site of Kladruby nad Labem and 250 black Kladrubers are bred in Slatiňany. The impressive yards house the stallions’ stables, loose stables for broodmares, stables for young horses in training, the foaling stable and riding hall lit by a chandelier.

The Kladruber horses stretch their legs in front of the stud’s ‘château‘ and church. Credit: Magdalena Strakova

Tree-lined avenues, woodland and pasture surround the stud, and there is a separate stable yard, where weaned foals are reared from six months until they start their training at three-and-a-half.

The stunning tree-lined avenues at the National Stud. Credit: Magdalena Strakova

The Kladruber horses are central to what the stud stands for. Historically, the grey horses were used for ceremonial service at the royal and imperial court. The black horses were mainly used for representative service by high clergy.

The Kladruber horses are bred for use in ceremonial duties.

Today, the grey Kladrubers still serve at royal courts. The Danish queen uses a team of six Kladruber greys to draw her state coach in Copenhagen. While in Sweden, the Kladrubers carry the trumpeters of the Swedish Mounted Royal Guards.

The Kladruber breeding stallion, Generale Pastorella VII. Credit: Magdalena Strakova

In the Czech Republic, the horses are used by the mounted police in Pardubice, Ostrava and Prague. The breed also excels in combined driving and dressage.

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