History Of The Knabstrupper Horse


The Knabstrupper is believed to have originated from prehistoric spotted horses that also produced the Appaloosa horse. In 1812, the Knabstrupper started with a single chestnut blanket spotted mare called Flæbe purchased by Major Villars Lunn who owned an estate in Denmark called "Knabstrupgaard". The mare was used as a carriage horse and later bred to a Fredricksborg stallion. Flæbe and her colt foal, Flæbestallion, born in 1813, became the foundation for the Knabstrupper.

By the 1870s the limited number of Knabstrupper horses led to unavoidable problems of inbreeding and, in 1891, a fire at the Lunn family stables killed 22 of its top breeding horses. By 1900 the numbers of Knabstruppers had declined significantly and supporters of the Knabstrupper horses set out to re-establish the breed. In 1971, breeder Frede Nielsen brought three Appaloosa stallions to Denmark to introduce new blood into the Knabstrupper breed.





The Knabstrupper horse stands 14.2 hh upwards.



Knabstrupper horses exhibit the same colour patterns as the Appaloosa as they share the same colour genes from the prehistoric spotted ponies.


The Knabstrupper has mottled skin on the muzzle, around the eyes and on the genitals. It also has white sclera and striped hooves. Knabstrupper horses can be any solid colour or spotted.


There are several distinct spotted patterns and each horse is unique:

  • "Leopard Spot" is a white horse with evenly distributed coloured spots

  • "Near Leopard" is similar to Leopard Spot but with coloured head and legs

  • "Spotted Blanket" is mainly coloured with a white back and/or hindquarters within which there are coloured spots

  • "White Blanket" is mainly coloured with a white back and/or hindquarters without spots

  • "Snowflake" is coloured with white spots over the body

  • "Frosted Hip" or "Frosted Blanket" is coloured with white frosting or white spots over the loin and hips

  • "Marble" is coloured at birth but roans with age to almost white

  • "Few Spot" or "Few Spot Leopard" is white with just a few spots


Breed Characteristics 


The Knabstrupper horse has an expressive head, a well-proportioned neck, long sloping shoulders, strong back, short and muscular loins and strong limbs with plenty of bone.




The Knabstrupper horse is lively, amiable and co-operative.




The Knabstrupper horse is used as a general riding horse and in equestrian sports such as dressage, eventing, and show jumping.