The Knabstrupper is believed to trace its earliest ancestry back to spotted stock from the Spanish army. In
1671, a Spanish stud farm in Denmark was known for its spotted “Tiger Horses,” which became a favorite
However, these spotted horses gradually disappeared from Denmark until the 1800s, when a colorful
mare named Flaebe and her son, Flaebestallion, established the foundation for the Knabstrupper breed,
which takes its name from the manor at Knabstrupgaard where Flaebe lived. Flaebe's offspring were known
for magnificent color, along with great stamina and steady temperaments.
By the 1870s, the breed was at risk again, partly due to excessive inbreeding and a fire that killed 22
descendants of Flaebe. To increase their numbers, breeders began outcrossing horses of Knabstrupper
parentage with Trakehner and Holstein horses from Germany. In the 1970s, three Appaloosa stallions were
also imported to Denmark to help re-establish the breed.
Today there are three distinct types of Knabstruppers: the sport horse, classic or baroque horse, and pony.
All are treasured for their colorful coats and equally colorful history.
A Colorful History