Life at the National Stud Farm during the COVID-19 pandemic

A global pandemic caused by Covid-19 has marked the lives of most people on the planet. Significant changes in the way of life as a result of the imposed restrictions have largely crippled everything that has so far been taken for granted. The loss of social contacts, closed schools, companies, shops, a significant reduction in sports and cultural activities ... all this has led to a fundamental slowdown in our lives. Despite this difficult period, the breeding activity of the National Stud Farm "Topoľčianky" did not feel any slowdown.

Horses are live animals and need daily care regardless of the existence of a pandemic. The Jazdiareň training centre has 78 horses of various ages, genders, breeds, training levels and sports specializations. In addition to routine care, such as feeding, cleaning and mucking out, each animal is given individual care.

The main priority is to work with young horses, which includes breaking under the saddle, basic schooling under the saddle and also in a carriage, in order to prepare for the prescribed performance tests. Currently, four Lipizzaner stallions, four Lipizzaner mares, two Hucul mares and three Shagya-Arab stallions are included in this training. After successfully passing the tests, the mares will rejuvenate and strengthen the breeding herds and the stallions become reserve breeding stallions. Based on the physical talent of individuals, they are included in sports testing. Lipizzan breed in driving or dressage, and also in the Classical school of Topoľčianky. Shagya-arab finds its application in endurance disciplines.

Thirteen horses of the Slovak warmblood breed which are currently included in the basic training - eight mares, three geldings and two stallions. Six of them will strengthen the sports dressage or show jumping department in the spring. In addition to sports testing, mares born in 2017 are getting preparing for performance tests of warm-blooded mares for future inclusion in the breeding herd of the Slovak warmblood horses.

The most numerous sport department is dressage. It consists of thirteen horses - nine Lipizzans and four Slovak warmbloods. In the season 2021, their ranks will be expanded by another four horses of the Slovak Warmblood breed. Talented stallion Loretto (2017) after Royal Dance from mother after Lapaz, a mare Lotty (2017) after Caesar van de Helle from mother after Lapaz, a mare Bonnavi (2017) after Dorman du Puy from mother after Boris du Melnire and a mare Pet (2014) after Quirado from mother after Papillon. Two Lipizzaner stallions after the performance tests, Favory XVIII-19 (2014) and Pluto XXI-9 (2016), will be included in the sports testing of the dressage department.

The driving department registers a total of 12 horses, eight Lipizzaner horses in sports testing in the Jazdiareň training centre and three others in the Hostie breeding facility. Sled testing currently focuses mainly on mares. This season, the new mare Asinta (2014) will be among them.

Also, the show jumping department, which currently registers three sport mares, will be expanded by a young mare named Ambra (2017) after Dorman du Puy from mother after Alexander der Grosse.

The vaulting department has three horses. Among the most experienced ones in sports are the gelding Leon (2012) after Dorman du Puy from mother after Lord Inci Tatus and his sister Lea (2012). Last year, the mare Betty after Quirado, from mother after Boris du Melnire, entered the vaulting testing.

In endurance, the gelding Syglam (Dahoman XI-78) 2009 and two mares Gazal V-12 (2008) and Kuhailan Urkub I-33 (2016) are included in the sports testing.

There are currently eighteen stallions of the Lipizzaner breed of various ages and specializations in the Classical School of Topoľčianky. Some work in a quadrille, others focus on training challenging exercises above the ground, such as capriola, curbete, levade or pesade. Three more stallions are preparing for the performances, Pluto XX-27, Conversano XIII-60 and Neapolitano XIV-16. Very popular are the five unique blackbirds after the Croatian stallion operating in Topoľčianky, Conversano XIII Toplica. During the Open Day, visitors could watch them in a festive gala program while performing the exercises of the Classical School of Topoľčianky.

Life did not stop even on breeding facilities, on the contrary. The first foals of this year are starting to be born. On January 5, a stallion of the Hucul breed Hroby XVI-24 from the mother 729 Oušor III-49 was born at the Hostie breeding facility. Two days after that, 7th January the Lipizzan mare Conversano XIII-75 from mother 745 Madeira was born. At the breeding facility Rybník, on 18th January they welcomed a thoroughbred Arabian stallion after Tobrok III from mother Unia. All foals and their mothers are in good health. The national stud farm expects more than 70 foals this year.

Breeding facilities are ready for the new breeding season, which begins on February 1 with the mating and insemination of breeding mares and lasts until 30th September this year.

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