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WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

  

The Majestic Knabstrupper Stud is situated in the heart of the Overberg surrounded by golden wheat fields in summer and lush green grazing in winter. The Majestic Knabstrupper Stud has been a long-term goal and dream. Our research on the breed already started in 2009. The stud was made possible during a visit to the WCGALP Leipzig 2010. We traveled via train to most of the renowned studs throughout Europe. This was a month-long journey to see the most horses possible by one human. It was only in Denmark that we decided the dream must now become a reality. It is very difficult to describe the majestic Knabstrupper breed. Only a real-life experience would explain it in full. We were fortunate to attend the grading shows as well, and that not only gave us a feel for the breed, but also an appreciation of the capability of performance. 

My first interest in the Knabstrupper breed began after several years of breeding Appaloosa Sport Horses (The Painted Appaloosa Stud) and studying at the University of Stellenbosch. I started with a degree in Animal Science, then did a masters degree in Animal Breeding and Genetics, and I am now busy with my PhD in Animal Breeding combined with Reproductive Physiology. As my knowledge as not only a horse lover but also an animal scientist grew, I became obsessed with breeding the “perfect” coloured sport horse by means of genetic principles that could increase the probability of success. Performance, however, is governed by more than one gene and increases the difficulty of selecting for these genes. Therefore, we use the principles of quantitative genetics. When it comes to colour we will, however, focus on qualitative principles because it is seen as a Mendelian or qualitative trait and makes it rather easy to select. Combining the two becomes more tricky due to the fact that you would need to decide on the importance of the traits and then determine selection objectives. Breeding must be done according to these objectives while keeping in mind the possible correlations between the traits. Colour is relatively easy to add, but when the base of performance genetics is not in place you would end up with long-lasting problems without an easy fix. Therefore, you need to make sure your goals are in place before attempting to breed a coloured sport horse foal without the necessary proven lineage and knowledge. You can easily lose the genetic gain made in one generation by selecting traits that could be negatively correlated.